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John Kerry Announces Support for MA DOMA Lawsuit

July 9, 2009

John Kerry has released a statement supporting Massachusett’s challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act.

Senator John Kerry threw his support behind the lawsuit filed earlier today by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley which challenges the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. Senator Kerry also supported the lawsuit filed in March by 15 Massachusetts residents in coordination with GLAD. In 1996, Senator Kerry was the only Senator running for reelection who voted against DOMA, and he has continued to speak out against DOMA and its harmful effects ever since.

The full release is below the jump.  You can view the entire Massachusetts complaint here. (h/t Nick)

KERRY SUPPORTS A.G. COAKLEY’S LAWSUIT FILED TODAY CHALLENGING DOMA

BOSTON – Senator John Kerry threw his support behind the lawsuit filed earlier today by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley which challenges the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. Senator Kerry also supported the lawsuit filed in March by 15 Massachusetts residents in coordination with GLAD. In 1996, Senator Kerry was the only Senator running for reelection who voted against DOMA, and he has continued to speak out against DOMA and its harmful effects ever since.

“The courts have always been the last resort for those seeking justice under the law, and I am proud to stand with Attorney General Coakley and wholeheartedly support her efforts to right a wrong that passed the Senate over the objections of both of Massachusetts’ Senators,” said Senator Kerry today .

“In 1996, I voted against the so-called Defense of Marriage Act not just because I believed it was nothing more than a fundamentally political ploy to divide Americans, but because it is unconstitutional. Thirteen years later, I still defy you to find a single Senator who can credibly argue that it is within the Senate’s power to strip away the word or spirit of a constitutional clause by simple statute. DOMA should never have passed and should never have become the law of the land. Unconstitutional and fundamentally unfair, today the human cost is especially clear and compelling. Denying same sex couples the same rights and protections under the law as enjoyed by opposite sex couples has absolutely nothing to do with defending marriage. This lawsuit is a necessary step in ensuring everyone in Massachusetts can live their lives and raise their families secure in the knowledge that their commitment to each other doesn’t make them any less an American than their heterosexual families, friends and neighbors,” Kerry continued.

The following is an excerpt from Kerry’s speech on the floor of the United States Senate in 1996 in which he first argued that DOMA was unconstitutional:

“I oppose this legislation because not only is it meant to divide Americans, but it is fundamentally unconstitutional, regardless of what your views are. DOMA is unconstitutional. There is no single Member of the U.S. Senate who believes that it is within the Senate’s power to strip away the word or spirit of a constitutional clause by simple statute.

“DOMA would, de facto, add a section to our Constitution’s full faith and credit clause, article IV, section 1, to allow the States not to recognize the legal marriage in another State. That is in direct conflict with the very specific understandings interpreted by the Supreme Court of the clause itself.

“The clause states–simple words–`Full faith and credit shall be given’–not `may be given,’ `shall be given’–`in each State to the public Acts, Records and judicial Proceedings of every other State.’ It says: And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

“It doesn’t say no effect. It doesn’t say can nullify. It doesn’t say can obviate or avoid. It says it has to show how you merely procedurally prove that the act spoken of has taken place, and if it has taken place, then what is the full effect of that act in giving full faith and credit to that State.

“I think any schoolchild could understand that allowing States to not accept the public act of another is the exact opposite of what the Founding Fathers laid forth in the clause itself. Let me repeat: Full faith and credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State.

“Now, if we intend to change it–and that is a different vote than having the constitutional process properly adhered to. But it seems to me that what Congress is doing is allowing a State to ignore another State’s acts, and every law that Congress has ever passed has invoked the full faith and credit of another State’s legislation.

“All of these laws share a basic common denominator. They all implement the full faith and credit mandate. They do not restrict it. Not once has it been restricted in that way. For example, the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act of 1990 provided the States have to enforce child custody determinations.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. KEVIN HUTCHCROFT permalink
    July 10, 2009 6:28 pm

    Confirming my own sense that Sen. Kerry is a man of far more substance and vision than he has ever been credited with by the national media and the broad public, this stance will secure his place in history. Defeated for the Presidency by dishonoring his service, by those who sat out the fight, I feel sick with remorse that this very good and decent man was treated in such a despicable way. Thank you John Kerry.

  2. Kevin Trask permalink
    July 12, 2009 9:54 am

    Senator Kerry.

    You are a Gentleman’s Gentleman. I will not speak of the poor way the media treated you. Funny but statistics show that 85% of all married people cheat at least once. This included church members. Got that statistic thru my chuch in the early 90s. I feel for you our nation is no longer united.

    I have sense divorced I am gay. Have been all my life. But did what others said was the right thing to do. “Set aside my homosexuality marry a female it will go away its only a phase it will go away.”

    Well 13.5yrs later and 13.5yrs of suffering proved otherwise. I was born gay my earliest thoughts homo erotic. Not something I learned, not something i was taught, not something I was recruited into, something I didn’t understand. Years of being bullied in school and at home. I did not chose this, I am this.

    Threats of maiming from my mother. Sort of scars you as an adult I am sure you could admit. I was in fear from all sides siblings, parents, classmates.

    To see you come out and speak on the behalf of the LGBT community is very impressive. I honor you as an American fighting for the rights of your fellow Americans. A minority group.

    I married my partner of 7 yrs in California. After which I moved to Ohio and bought a home for us to retire in. I and My spouse now 8 yrs are two single males, instead of spouses. Isn’t this amazing? The un United States of America . The unity is not there. It goes against what I learned in grade school. The pledge of Allegiance of the United States Of America. Indivisible With liberty and justice for all. Justice for who? All heterosexuals. What happened to Separation of church and State. I raised my children in church. Teaching them the basics of Gods love.

    We have 50 million people dieing on a daily basis and all we can do is attack a minority group. I believe the church needs to turn back to its first love. Jesus. He did not forsake anyone. He was all inclusive. murders, thief’s, drunkards panders. He was really against zealots, scribes, Pharisees, Tax Collectors. He also stated to avoid government. The church was not to be involved in law making. they were to obey the laws of the land. To be good Stewart’s. To practice the beatitudes sermon on the mount.

    So my question is how long will we suffer the inequitable standards of the sinners in the church????????????

    Respectfully and sincerely
    Kevin Trask

Trackbacks

  1. Guest Post: A Quick Guide to Sexual Orientation Law « Leave it to Seaver
  2. John Kerry Rips Apart the Defense of Marriage Act » Equal Roots
  3. BREAKING: Federal Judge Rules DOMA Unconstitutional « Leave it to Seaver

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