After the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the Defense of Marriage Act last Wednesday, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Cold Spring), one of only a handful of gay House members, called the decision a triumph for his family and others like it.
“After raising three beautiful children with my partner of 21 years, the Supreme Court has finally recognized us as a family,” Maloney said in a press release on the court’s decisions overturning DOMA as well as California’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in the state. “Today is not only a triumph for families like mine but for millions of Americans who still face legal discrimination simply for who they love.”
In a press conference Maloney, who has raised three children with his partner Randy, compared the court’s decision to previous civil rights rulings.
“A short while ago I called my partner, Randy, of 21 years to tell him about the decision and to congratulate him and I really couldn’t get the words out,” Maloney said. “I realized in that moment that it was the first time in 21 years, 20 of those years spent raising our three amazing children, that I wasn’t talking to him as someone who was seen as less than in the eyes of my own country’s laws.”
DOMA, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton in 1996, barred married same-sex couples from receiving federal benefits other married couples receive. While no states allowed gay marriage until 2004, it is now legal in 13 states including New York as well as Washington D.C.
Rep. Nita Lowey (D-Harrison) also praised the ruling and called on all states to legalize gay marriage.
“Today, the United States Supreme Court upheld one of the bedrock principles of our country: equal treatment under the law,” Lowey, who voted for the law in 1996, said in a press release. “This is an exciting day for all of us who believe in equality and justice. Millions of Americans will no longer feel as though our federal government does not value their bond, their commitment, or their family. They and their children will now receive the security and benefits every American deserves.”