Hearings Begin in Historic Trial to Erode DOMA

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Sean Eldridge , Director of Communications, Freedom to Marry
sean@freedomtomarry.org

Hearings Begin in Historic Trial to Erode DOMA

"Massachusetts Once Again Leads the Way in Ending Marriage Discrimination"

NEW YORK - Today in Boston, eight married same-sex
couples and three widowers,
represented by the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD),
will
appear in Federal District Court to challenge Section 3 of the so-called
"Defense of Marriage Act" that imposes federal marriage discrimination
on
same-sex couples.  In 1996, DOMA ended
the 200-plus year tradition that marriages valid in any state are
respected by
the federal government.  The "gay
exception" to federal marriage recognition enacted by DOMA deprives
married
same-sex couples of more than a thousand federal incidents of marriage
affecting nearly every area of life.

Evan
Wolfson, Executive Director of Freedom to Marry, stated that "GLAD's
historic
challenge to DOMA marks an important step on the road to ending federal
marriage discrimination and securing the freedom to marry nationwide. 
DOMA creates two classes of marriage - those
the federal government respects and some it doesn't - denying married
same-sex
couples and their families equal treatment and depriving them of the
safety-net
that marriage brings.  Because of federal
marriage discrimination, same-sex couples cannot share Social security
benefits
with a spouse, sponsor a partner for a green card or citizenship, or
pool
resources without being unfairly taxed.  In the United States, we don't
have
second-class citizens, and we shouldn't have second-class marriages
either."

Mary L.
Bonauto, GLAD's Civil Rights Project Director, who will be arguing on
behalf of
the plaintiffs, remarked that "Every day DOMA is hurting couples and
families -
not just by denying them benefits and rights, but by denying that their
marriages exist.  Under our Constitution's equal protection guarantees,
there is no justification for this."

For details
about the case, Gill et al.
v. Office of
Personnel Management
, visit:
http://www.glad.org/doma

###

Freedom to Marry is the gay and non-gay partnership working to win marriage equality nationwide. Headed by Evan Wolfson, one of America's leading civil rights advocates and lawyers, Freedom to Marry brings new resources and a renewed context of urgency and opportunity to this social justice movement.

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