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Jun 26, 2013

Equality NC Responds to Historic Supreme Court Holding to Strike Down DOMA

State’s premier LGBT organization calls decision “an enormous victory”

Raleigh, N.C. — Equality NC, North Carolina’s statewide Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) advocacy organization, today responded to the U.S. Supreme Court’s holding in U.S. v. Windsor to strike down Section 3 of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” or DOMA.

CLICK HERE to view the Court's opinion.

FIND OUT what this ruling means for NC.

The ruling means all legally married couples, including same-sex couples, should also be treated as married by the federal government. Same-sex couples who are married and living in one of the 12 states recognizing same-sex marriages, or the District of Columbia, will now be eligible for the federal protections and responsibilities afforded all other married couples.

“This is an enormous victory and a joyous day for loving, married couples and their families – and for equal justice under the law,” said Stuart Campbell, executive director of Equality NC. “Today, the Supreme Court affirmed that all loving and committed couples who marry deserve equal legal respect and treatment.”

Since its enactment in 2006, DOMA’s two-tiered system for marriage was a radical departure from the way in which the United States had always treated the institution, forcing the federal government to pick and choose among marriages and discriminate against certain types of families, creating a “gay exception” that caused pain, uncertainty, and financial harm.

For thousands of married lesbian and gay couples, today’s ruling means that they can better protect one another and their children because they will finally be included in the federal safety net of rights and benefits afforded married couples.

Nevertheless, for those legally married same-sex couples who have moved to – or now live in – a state such as North Carolina that discriminates against their marriages, legal experts believe access to those federal marital protections may still be in question.

“For most of the federal benefits that people think about when they talk about marriage, the government will only recognize a marriage if it is legal in the state where the couple lives,” said UNC Law Professor Holning Lau in his recent article, “Same Sex Marriage and States Like Mine” (http://www.acslaw.org/acsblog/same-sex-marriage-and-states-like-mine.)

Campbell added, “With this decision adding to a tidal wave of momentum for marriage, we will continue working to win the freedom to marry here at home by pursuing the same strategy that has brought us to this historic day: growing a majority of support for marriage equality – as well as all forms of LGBT equality - in North Carolina.”

Equality NC is a statewide organization working to secure equal rights and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender North Carolinians.

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