Civil rights orgs applaud marriage rulings

On Tuesday, LGBT organizations joined the nation's other advocates for full equality in expressing outrage at the Supreme Court's striking down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.

"We're deeply troubled by the Supreme Court's decision to dismantle one of our nation's most significant Civil Rights advancements, the Voting Rights Act," said GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz. "Discrimination, in any of its forms, is simply not an American value. Today, we stand by Civil Rights organizations and fair-minded Americans everywhere, who believe everyone -- regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation or gender identity -- should have equal access to the ballot box."

Similarly, the positive response to Wednesday's rulings in support of marriage equality was not limited to LGBT advocacy organizations.

The NAACP, which fully supports marriage equality, released four statements from key leaders:

From Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman, NAACP National Board of Directors:

“This is an historic day for all Americans,” said Roslyn Brock, Chairman, NAACP Board of Directors. “The federal government can no longer discriminate against some couples and cause pain, uncertainty, and financial harm to some families. Today, the Supreme Court acknowledged and affirmed that all loving and committed couples who are legally married deserve equal rights and protection under the law.”

From Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and CEO, NAACP:

“Less than five decades ago, my parent’s interracial marriage was deemed illegal until Mildred & Richard Loving and the NAACP stood before the Supreme Court to demand that they be treated equally,” stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous.   “Today, the principles that led to the victory for the Lovings and my parents are reaffirmed by the Court’s historic decision. These decisions bring our nation closer to achieving the equality under the law that the NAACP has fought for since our founding. ”

From Marvin Randolph, Sr. Director for Voting Rights, NAACP:     

“Today’s rulings are a result of organized and powerful coalitions determined to protect the rights and livelihoods of our American families,” said Marvin Randolph. “The rulings on DOMA and Prop 8 are not the end of the road. We will have to continue working state by state to win majority support for marriage equality.”

From Kim Keenan, General Counsel, NAACP:   

“Equality does not have a gender,” stated NAACP General Counsel Kim Keenan. “Today, the Supreme Court recognized that the Defense of Marriage Act effectively coded unconstitutional discrimination into federal law. The NAACP has strongly advocated for marriage equality because it is a necessary step in the fight for civil rights for all."

From Frank Jannuzi, deputy executive director of Amnesty International USA:

"We welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Section 3 of DOMA to ensure that legally married same-sex couples can access federal benefits. However, we are concerned about the Court’s decision on California’s Proposition 8 which effectively punts on the issue of marriage equality for same-sex couples throughout the United States.

Marriage equality for same-sex couples is a human right. By effectively denying recognition of marriage rights for same-sex couples outside of the state of California, the Court has allowed to continue a discriminatory legal system that also prevents many people from accessing a range of other rights, such as rights to housing and health care, and stigmatizes those relationships in ways that can fuel discrimination and other human rights abuses against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity."

From National Organization for Women President Terry O'Neill:

The National Organization for Women is elated for the many same-sex couples whose loving, committed relationships will now be recognized in law a result of today's Supreme Court rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California's Proposition 8. While we still have not achieved a full constitutional right for same-sex marriage, we are buoyed by the court's decisions to strike down the discriminatory DOMA and to allow the federal trial court's overruling of Proposition 8 to stand. A longtime supporter of marriage equality, NOW has opposed DOMA and Proposition 8 from the start and has sought to advance the rights of those treated as second-class in our society.

From the National Council of La Raza:

“Today’s decision to recognize the marriages of LGBT couples as equal is a monumental step forward for this country,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR (National Council of La Raza). “By striking down a central part of DOMA, the Supreme Court reaffirmed this country’s commitment to equality, sending a clear message that no person should be discriminated against because of who they are or who they love. While there is undoubtedly still more work to be done to ensure that marriage equality is the law of the land, today is a reminder that the arc of history bends toward justice and that we must keep fighting for equal rights for all.”

From Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of

“As the only openly gay leader of a national black civil rights organization and as someone who has spent a large majority of my career working for gay and transgender equality, I applaud the United States Supreme Court decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act and extend federal benefits to same sex couples and declare Prop 8 unconstitutional. Not only because of what it means to me personally, but more importantly because of the message that it sends to the youth of our country, the opportunities that it opens for thousands of loving and committed couples and their families, and the hope it provides to all of those working in civil rights. Even in the midst of major setbacks, we still have moments of significant progress. ”

From Human Rights Watch:

“Today's decision not only gives federal recognition and respect to the many married same-sex couples in the US,” said Graeme Reid, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) rights director at Human Rights Watch. “More fundamentally, it also affirms that LGBT people deserve fundamental rights and equal protection in all areas of the law."

From Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President, National Women's Law Center:

“Today’s victory was a profound one. DOMA’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriages reflected and enforced gender stereotypes about men’s and women’s roles in marriage. The Supreme Court has repeatedly struck down laws enforcing overly broad gender stereotypes because they arbitrarily limit individuals’ most personal choices about their own lives. Today, in finding that DOMA had no legitimate purpose in disfavoring same-sex marriages, the Court continues that proud tradition.”

Read the joint statement of nation's leading LGBT advocacy organizations expressing deep disappointment about the Voting Rights Act ruling.