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Public Counsel Joins Celebration of Marriage Equality

Public Counsel applauded the Supreme Court's decisions today in two historic cases that expand the freedom to marry for all Americans.

The Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act in United States v. Windsor and ended the Proposition 8 case challenging marriage equality in California in Hollingsworth et al. v. Perry et al.

"A couple's decision about marriage should be ruled by love and hope, not by laws that say their lives are less than equal or expose their children to prejudice," said Public Counsel President and CEO Hernan Vera. "The court's decisions today affirm our nation's highest ideals of freedom and equality and protects the privacy and dignity of all American families as the Constitution demands."

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote for the majority in the 5-4 decision that outlawed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), said the law had created a "second tier marriage" for same-sex couples that violated the 5th Amendment guarantee of liberty for Americans.

DOMA undermines both the public and private significance of state-sanctioned same-sex marriages; for it tells those couples, and all the world, that their otherwise valid marriages are unworthy of federal recognition. This places same-sex couples in an unstable position of being in a second-tier marriage. The differentiation demeans the couple, whose moral and sexual choices the Constitution protects, and whose relationship the State has sought to dignify. And it humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples. The law in question makes it even more difficult for the children to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives.

Public Counsel had joined dozens of organizations across California in an amicus brief that challenged Proposition 8, the 2008 law that banned same-sex marriage in California. The Supreme Court's decision to end the Proposition 8 case will restore the freedom to marry in California.

Click here to read the decision on DOMA.

Click here to read the decision on Proposition 8.