Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, Congressman
Jerrold Nadler, and Members of the LGBT Equality Caucus held a press
conference on the Supreme Court’s rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act
and Proposition 8. Below are her remarks:
“Well happy day, huh? ‘Equal justice under the law,’ those are the words
inscribed into the walls of the Supreme Court, which by the way, I can
see from my office. This is the value and the ideal upheld by the
Supreme Court today.
“From the start, many of us had believed that Section 3 of the Defense
of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. In fact, we believed the whole bill
was unconstitutional. Today, the Supreme Court agreed and justice was
done for thousands of LGBT families nationwide. Just think of what it
means to them. From the start, many of us had believed that Prop. 8 had
no place in in the state of California. Today, the Supreme Court agreed
that justice will be done for loving LGBT couples across my home state.
“Indeed, on this day, nearly 44 years to the day after the Stonewall
Riots turned the attention of the nation into the challenge against
discrimination, against LGBT Americans, the Supreme Court bent the arc
of history once again toward justice. With the decisions [of] the
highest court in the land, the federal government will no longer
discriminate against any family legally married in the United States,
California will join 12 other states and Washington, D.C. in recognizing
the basic rights of all families, [and] equal protection will not simply
be a promise unfulfilled. It will be a promise kept.
“Today, victory is not the end of this journey for civil rights, for
equality – our heritage and our hope. This ruling will only make us work
harder – in the courts, in state legislatures, everywhere, to ensure
that all men and women in every part of our country are granted equal
rights, no matter who they love. This is an extraordinary day for
American values, for America’s best traditions of progress, for LGBT
Americans, and really, for all Americans. This is another day that will
go down in the history books as a moment when our nation expanded the
reach of the highest ideals of our Constitution and our democracy.
“I want to say on a personal note how important today is. I feel,
personally, the inspiration of Harvey Milk. I admire the courage of Edie
Windsor. I’ve heard her on occasion tell the story of her love. I know
she’ll be speaking right now or just later today. I congratulate her. I
thank her for her courage.
just want to say one more thing and that is: in March, a week apart,
many of us on stood of the steps of the Supreme Court. One day, it was,
as they were hearing the oral arguments on the Voting Rights Act. The
next week, it was on Proposition 8 and DOMA. Many of the same people
were there on both days because this is really the same subject about
discrimination in our country.
“So, we have work to do in terms of expanding rights and ending
discrimination against those in the LGBT community to make America more
American. But we also have very important work to do on the Voting
Rights Act, again, on the same subject. With that, I am very pleased to
yield to a person who’s 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 that we’re waiting for one of our LGBT
Equality Caucus Members. And then – they are our stars today. We salute
them for their courage, for their leadership, and for the joy we all
share today. And my guest, Mr. Cicilline, has just joined us now. Mr.
Hoyer, and then our special guests.”