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August 4, 2010

GLAD’s Mary Bonauto Comments on Perry v. Schwarzenegger Decision

GLAD congratulates the couples, the City of San Francisco, and their legal teams for successfully challenging California’s Prop 8.  The decision reminds us that the freedom to marry is a long-established right belonging to all Americans, including gay and lesbian Americans.  Gay people, like all others, want the choice to join in marriage because we believe in the values of love, commitment, responsibility and caring for our families.  While the case goes on, we hope people will come to see it is really about ensuring that all committed couples can take care of each other through the important bonds of marriage.

Read the Perry decision.

GLAD is litigating a different federal court case, which challenges the federal government’s discrimination against couples who are already married under their state laws through Section 3 of the so-called federal “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA).

“GLAD’s case and Perry seek to cure two important but different injustices,” according to Mary L. Bonauto, GLAD attorney and co-lead counsel in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management. “Gill is not a right-to-marry case, since we represent couples who are already married.  Rather, it is a case about federal recognition, challenging DOMA’s denial of these marriages for purposes of all federal laws.  DOMA is synonymous with disapproval of gay people and our families, and we seek to end Congress’s different treatment of married people based simply on sexual orientation.”

Bonauto added, “No matter the outcome of these federal court cases, it is still imperative to continue working on a local level to secure respect for and undo all state-based discrimination against gay and lesbian families.”  For information about local contacts, visit the Equality Federation website.

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Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders is New England's leading legal organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status, and gender identity and expression.