Statement From A.G. Schneiderman On Supreme Court Decision To Hear A Challenge To "Defense Of Marriage Act"


NEW YORK – The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to the "Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) which provides that same-sex marriages are not recognized for purposes of federal law.  Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman filed a brief in this case with Vermont and Connecticut arguing that DOMA violates same-sex couples’ right to equal protection under the U.S. Constitution, and should be more closely scrutinized because it constitutes a sweeping intrusion into the States’ regulation of marriage. On October 18th, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York ruled that Section 3 of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) is unconstitutional because it discriminates against married same-sex couples.

The following statement is attributable to Attorney General Schneiderman:

“I am pleased that the Court has decided to hear this case and I am hopeful that we will prevail. The Second Circuit agreed with our argument that the proposed justifications for the Defense of Marriage Act should be subjected to special scrutiny, both because the statute burdens gay and lesbian married couples, 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. The Supreme Court should affirm the ruling of the Second Circuit and declare DOMA to be unconstitutional.”