A broad bipartisan coalition of organizations filing briefs with the Supreme Court as “friends of the Court,” in support of the plaintiffs in the landmark cases challenging the so-called federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8 held a joint press conference today. Briefs are being filed in the Proposition 8 case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, today, and in the DOMA case, United States v. Windsor, on Friday.

Among the speakers at today’s press conference were Valerie Long of the SEIU, Kim Keenan of the NAACP, Congressman Patrick Murphy, Retired U.S. Navy Captain Joan Darrah, religious leaders and families.

“As a military veteran, there is no question that the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, discriminates against certain legally married service members, veterans, and their families. The impacts of DOMA are real and this discriminatory law injures morale, readiness, cohesion and performance. There is no constitutional justification, let alone military rationale, that weighs in favor of permitting these threats to today’s military and our national security to continue.” – Congressman Patrick Murphy.

“DOMA discriminates against same-sex legally married servicemembers, veterans, and their families. Not only does it discriminate but it also unquestionably stands at odds with the military’s core value of equality and has hampered progress the military has tried to make post-DADT.  By striking down DOMA, the military will be able to uphold its promises to its servicemembers.” – Captain Joan Darrah, US Navy (Ret).

“Working people are standing alongside millions of other Americans in this fight for marriage equality because we believe in fairness and equality and don’t think federal or state law should penalize people simply because of who they love. The Court should uphold the Court of Appeals rulings striking down DOMA and Proposition 8 and affirm the fundamental rights of all Americans to recognition of their families.”  – Valarie Long, Executive Vice President, SEIU.

“DOMA and other civil laws that purposefully infringe on the rights of gay people create and perpetuate a discriminatory societal division. By categorically excluding gay people from federal protections and obligations that come with civil marriage, DOMA intentionally segregates citizens on the basis of status. DOMA must be struck down because it denies Americans equal protection under the law based solely on sexual orientation.” – Kim Keenan, General Counsel, NAACP.

“My wife and I are devout Christians, and marriage means so much to us that when our son Lee came out as gay we wanted to make sure that his love was recognized the same as ours. Lee and his husband David are entitled to a marriage full of life, love and family – and we want that for all couples.” – Mike Neubecker, a PFLAG brief signer in support of the freedom to marry.

“Our position on same-sex marriage is derived from our religion that emphasizes equality and compassion. Our country is founded in equality and discriminating against same-sex couples runs in opposition to the core principals of our nation and my religion. We strive for equality and we urge that it be extended to all couples, regardless of sexual orientation.” – Sandy Sorensen, Director of Washington Office, Justice and Witness Ministries, United Church of Christ.

“I believe in the Christian principles of justice, compassion, inclusivity and, most importantly, love. All loving couples deserve to make a vow of lifetime commitment to one another and to have that marriage celebrated and protected.” – Rev. Scott Slater, Chief of Staff, Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.