Washington, DC – The Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in United States v. Windsor,  challenging Section 3 of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” which defines marriage as between a man and a woman for all federal purposes.

The following statement was made by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders’ Executive Director Lee Swislow after oral arguments today in United States v. Windsor:

“For every day DOMA continues to be enforced by our federal government, thousands of legally married same-sex couples are denied critical protections.

DOMA is a blatantly discriminatory law which targets a particularly disliked group, impacts important personal interests, and represents a one-time departure from the usual process of allocating federal rights and benefits.

Same-sex couples who are legally married in their home states should be treated like all other married couples in this nation – with respect and dignity.

I am confident this case got a fair hearing today in our nation’s highest court. This day has been long in the making, and the question is not if, but when, this discriminatory law will be overturned.”

GLAD’s two DOMA challenges, Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management were considered at the Supreme Court conference in December, but were not granted certiorari.

GLAD filed Gill, the country’s first strategic challenge to DOMA in 2009; and filed Pedersen in 2010.  Gill was the first case in which DOMA was found unconstitutional by a federal District Court, and also achieved the first appellate ruling that DOMA is unconstitutional in May 2012.

Gill was held by the Court and will most likely be addressed by the Court in June.