Hoyer Remarks at Press Conference on Supreme Court Ruling on Marriage Equality

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Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi:
"With that I'm very pleased to yield to a person who has been a leader on this issue for decades, for a very long, long time, our distinguished Whip Mr. Hoyer. Before he speaks, though, I want to say we're waiting for one more of our LGBT Task Force members and then they are our stars today. We salute them for their courage, for their leadership, and for the joy we share today. Mr. Hoyer and then our special guest."

Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer:
"Thank you, Madam Leader. As disappointed as I was yesterday, I am happy today. Today the court stood up for the principles of America of equal justice under law.

"The Supreme Court's historic decision to strike down Section 3 of the '96 Defense of Marriage Act opens doors of opportunity for thousands of married couples in Maryland. And of course we had a vote in Maryland of the people. And they said we wanted to have equality in Maryland.

"In 12 other states and the District of Columbia, recognizing the same sex partners married under laws of their states are entitled to the constitutional equal protection of which we have spoken so often. The court today listened to voices of millions of people who said that they wanted to have justice and be able to choose those whom they love.

"Justice Kennedy's majority opinion makes it clear, and I quote: 'DOMA's avowed purpose and practical effects are to impose a disadvantage, a separate status and so a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages.' Today that stigma has thankfully been erased.

"I was proud to have joined an amicus brief under the leadership of Leader Pelosi, with other Senate and House Democrats, making the case that Section 3 of DOMA violated our constitution and stood opposed to our most basic values as Americans.

"This is a good day for every American. One of my first votes when I was elected to State Senate in 1966 was to vote to repeal the miscegenation statutes in Maryland. That was some 50 years ago. This is another step redeeming America's promise of equality, justice, and inclusion."