Statement From A.G. Schneiderman On Court Decision Ruling Federal “Defense Of Marriage Act” Is Unconstitutional

NEW YORK – A federal judge in New York ruled today that section 3 of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) is unconstitutional by discriminating against married same-sex couples. In July 2011, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman filed papers with the court in Windsor v. United States, arguing that DOMA violates same-sex couples’ right to equal protection under the law as required by the U.S. Constitution.

The following statement is attributable to Attorney General Schneiderman:

Today’s decision is a major step forward in the fight for equality. I am pleased that the court recognized that the federal Defense of Marriage Act lacks any adequate justification and violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. As we argued in our brief in this case, the court examined the proposed justifications for the statute with special care, both because the statute burdens minorities, and because it intrudes on the traditional role of states in defining marriage. The State of New York has long recognized out-of-state, same-sex marriages and the enactment of the Marriage Equality Act further cements our state’s position on this critical civil rights issue. My office will continue to fight every day to defend the fundamental guarantee of equal protection of the law for all New Yorkers.

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