Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statement on this week’s Supreme Court cases challenging California’s Proposition 8 and the misnamed Defense of Marriage Act:
“After years of being denied the right to marry the people they love, LGBT Americans are nearing their long-delayed moment of full equality before the law. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’ In no instance are those words more relevant than in the quest for marriage equality.
“The CPC stands with the solid majority of the American people in favor of marriage equality. We believe that all loving and committed couples, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, deserve to be treated equally under the law. The cases before the Supreme Court this week are fundamentally about whether gay and lesbian Americans should have the same rights as heterosexual Americans. We believe they should.
“Because of the Defense of Marriage Act, same-sex couples have been denied the federal benefits that come with marriage. Unlike heterosexual married couples, gay and lesbian couples – who love their partners no less – cannot collect survivor benefits from Social Security, file taxes jointly or take leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act if a partner is sick. No purpose is served by making such a cruel distinction.
“We cannot exclude loving and committed couples from the right to marry. The American people reaffirmed this principle at the ballot box last year when four states voted to uphold marriage equality.
“No national interest is served by denying a significant segment of the population equal rights. We encourage the Supreme Court to recognize the moment and end a period of discrimination that has already lasted too long.”