Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hector Vargas on Supreme Court Rulings

Note from Hecor Vargas, Executive Director GLMA , reposted at,
In two separate rulings today, the US Supreme Court opened the doors for legally married same-sex couples to be treated equally under federal law and re-opened the doors for loving and committed same-sex couples in California to marry.

GLMA joins with the entire LGBT community in celebration of equality and renews our commitment to ensure that every same-sex couple in this country, regardless of where they live, will one day enjoy the freedom to marry.
I was lucky enough to be in the courtroom today as these decisions were released, and I couldn’t help but feel strong pulls of joy and pride as Justice Anthony Kennedy read from his opinion overturning DOMA (the so-called Defense of Marriage Act), speaking about the dignity of same-sex couples and their children and the very real harms DOMA inflicted on them.

Justice Kennedy wrote that DOMA “undermines both the public and private significance of state-sanctioned same-sex marriages; for it tells these couples, and all the world, that otherwise valid marriages are unworthy of federal recognition.”


In his opinion, Justice Kennedy alluded to the social stability that marriage affords and also noted how—in very tangible terms—the law prevented married couples from receiving federal healthcare benefits and raised the cost of healthcare for families by taxing health benefits employers provided to same-sex spouses of employees.

In addition to overturning DOMA, the Supreme Court let stand a federal district court ruling that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional allowing marriage of same-sex couples to resume in the state of California.

I’m proud of the hard work of the many LGBT people and organizations across the country who made this possible —especially the ACLU and the American Foundation for Equal Rights, who brought the cases decided today. I’m also proud of the role that each of you, as GLMA members, played in this historic victory.

Through GLMA’s friend-of-the-court briefs, submitted to the Supreme Court in March, we provided your expertise as health professionals to the nation’s highest court and joined a chorus of organizations and individuals in support of marriage equality.

Through these briefs, GLMA stood up for LGBT equality and the freedom to marry as critical issues that affect the health and well-being of LGBT people and their families.

While we celebrate this victory today, you and I both know there is still much work to be done. The repeal of DOMA and marriage equality will play a significant role in helping to strengthen our community, but it is not a silver bullet.

With renewed spirit from this victory, GLMA will continue our quest for LGBT health equality. Our work encompasses the philosophy that not only is LGBT health a civil rights issue, but also that issues of LGBT equality, such as marriage, have a significant impact on LGBT health.

Your support has helped us reach this pivotal moment in the movement for LGBT equality, and so I thank you and look forward to continuing our work together to achieve our goal of healthcare equality for LGBT people.

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