June 26, 2013 – New York – AJC welcomed today’s
landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that gay married couples are entitled to
federal benefits. The 5-4 decision found the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act,
which had banned such benefits, unconstitutional.
In a second decision, however, the justices declined to
decide whether there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. The appeal
of a decision striking California’s Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage was
dismissed due to a procedural technicality. AJC had filed amicus briefs in both
AJC General Counsel Marc D. Stern issued the following
“Full recognition of marriage equality—the right to marry
the person one loves regardless of gender—is a right whose recognition is long
overdue. Today’s decisions are a large, but, unfortunately, incomplete, step in
“One of the self-evident truths of the American experiment
is that all persons are created equal. The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments
incorporate that aspiration into fundamental law: they guarantee all Americans
the equal protection of the laws as of right. That promised equality is surely
denied when literally thousands of laws treat some Americans differently because
of whom they love.
“It has taken far too long to achieve recognition of the
right to marriage equality, but given today’s invalidation of the federal
Defense of Marriage Act, and the Court’s decision leaving intact a District
Court decision invalidating California’s Proposition 8 banning same-sex
marriage, such recognition is inevitable.
“AJC is proud to have filed a brief in the cases decided
today calling for the immediate recognition of same-sex marriage by both the
federal government and the states. It also called attention to the need for
careful consideration of the impact of that recognition on other
constitutionally protected interests, including religious liberty.
“In the wake of today’s decision, AJC will continue to seek
full legal recognition of same-sex marriages. Indeed, we will shortly join in
one such brief in Illinois.”