Statement From A.G. Schneiderman Regarding The Passage Of Marriage Equality Legislation In Rhode Island

NEW YORK – Today a bipartisan majority in the Rhode Island State Senate voted 26-12 in favor of marriage equality in that state. Because the Senate made minor changes to the bill, it has to go back to the Rhode Island House, which previously passed it overwhelmingly. Governor Lincoln Chafee has pledged to sign the bill. Rhode Island will become the 10th state, plus the District of Columbia, to permit same-sex couples to marry. The following statement may be attributed to Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman regarding the passage of marriage equality in Rhode Island.

“Today’s vote for marriage equality in Rhode Island represents another milestone in the march toward equal justice under law for gay and lesbian Americans. The growing number of states recognizing marriage equality only strengthens the case for the Supreme Court to overturn the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act. As my office has argued in the Supreme Court, DOMA undermines the efforts of states like New York, and now Rhode Island, to provide equal rights and protection under the law for same-sex couples.”

A.G. Schneiderman led a coalition of more than a dozen states in filing a friend-of-the-court brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which refuses to recognize for all federal purposes same-sex marriages valid under state law. A copy of the Attorney General’s amicus brief filed in the case of United States v. Windsor can be readhere.

In a separate case affecting the marriage rights of same sex couples, Hollingsworth v. Perry, Attorney General Schneiderman joined a friend-of-the-court brief filed by Massachusetts, and joined by 12 other States, urging the Supreme Court to hold that California’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. For more information on the two friend-of-the-court briefs in United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry, click here.

A.G. Schneiderman also successfully defended New York’s marriage equality law from legal challenge in New York State’s highest court. On October 23, 2012, the New York State Court of Appeals sided with A.G. Schneiderman’s office in a rejecting a challenge to the Marriage Equality Act.

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