The Obama administration said it would not defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court in 2011. At the time Atty. Gen. Eric Holder, who had previously defended the law, said the Justice Department determined that DOMA was no longer constitutional.
Holder today called the Supreme Court’s ruling on DOMA “an enormous triumph for equal protection under the law for all Americans.”
Holder said in a statement that the Department of Justice would work “expeditiously” to implement the court’s decision.
“Despite this momentous victory, our nation’s journey – towards equality, opportunity and justice for everyone in this country – is far from over,” Holder said. “ Important, life-changing work remains before us. And, as we move forward in a manner consistent with the Court’s ruling, the Department of Justice is committed to continuing this work, and using every tool and legal authority available to us to combat discrimination and to safeguard the rights of all Americans.”
12:20 p.m.: Celebrities took to Twitter today to express their satisfaction with two Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage. Many of Hollywood’s elite have supported marriage equality for years, helping to raise money and awareness for the cause as they promote their work.
Neil Patrick Harris supported marriage equality and tweeted soon after the Supreme Court released its decision.
"Huzzah! Christmas comes six months early this year! (Less one day…)," Harris said.
Lady Gaga has a history of donating a percentage of her concert proceeds to LBGT advocacy groups.
"We stand tall today.#DomaStruckDown So many fought for so long. Be proud, the prejudice are now the minority. pic.twitter.com/teni7GREDY," she said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, television host Ellen DeGeneres called Wednesday “a supremely wonderful day for equality.”
“Prop 8 is over, and so is DOMA,” she tweeted. “Congratulations everyone. And I mean everyone."
Perhaps actress Kristen Bell’s reaction took things the farthest. Bell and her fiance, Dax Shepard, both advocates for marriage equality, formally announced their engagement following the decisions.
Bell proposed to her husband over Twitter: ".@daxshepard1 will you marry me? Xo #marriageequality #loveislove,” she wrote to Shepard.
His reply, also via Twitter, "DOMA is dead. Prop 8 is dead. Now let's bring my big, gay marriage to @IMKristenBell to Life!!!!"
11:32 a.m.: More than 16 years after he signed the Defense of Marriage Act, former President Bill Clinton completed his about face on Wednesday, applauding the Supreme Court’s decision to strike it down.
As he campaigned for reelection in 1996, Clinton signed DOMA, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman under federal law.
The former president has gradually retreated from his action in the years since he signed the bill into law. And finally this month, Clinton disowned the DOMA altogether and urged the Supreme Court to overturn it.
In a joint statement issued with his wife Hilary Clinton on Wednesday, the former President said that the court’s decision “recognized that discrimination towards any group holds us all back in our efforts to form a more perfect union.
“We are also encouraged that marriage equality may soon return to California,” the Clintons said.
11:05 a.m.: Religious leaders, drawing on their faith traditions and beliefs, are commenting on the U.S. Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage rulings:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in a statement, said that it was “irrevocably committed to strengthening traditional marriage between a man and a woman.”
“By ruling that supporters of Proposition 8 lacked standing to bring this case to court, the Supreme Court has highlighted troubling questions about how our democratic and judicial system operates,” said the church, which heavily backed the Proposition 8 ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage in California. “Many Californians will wonder if there is something fundamentally wrong when their government will not defend or protect a popular vote that reflects the views of a majority of their citizens.“
Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, in a joint statement, called Wednesday “a tragic day for marriage and our nation.”
“The Court got it wrong,” the pair’s statement said. “The federal government ought to respect the truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, even where states fail to do so.”