While celebrating today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, gay congressional members are also calling for the passage of legislation to protect all of the rights LGBT Americans deserve.
Freshman Congressman Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin), a co-chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus and the only current married gay member of Congress, noted that his marriage to his husband, Philip Frank, is still not recognized by his home state, one of 37 with state-level bans against same-sex marriage.
“As we celebrate this momentous occasion, we must continue to move forward and ensure all loving couples are treated as equals. While my husband Phil and I continue to wait to have our marriage recognized by both Wisconsin and Washington, I am now more confident than ever that full marriage equality is a question not of if, but when,” he stated.
Gay Congressman Jared Polis (D-Colorado) sent an email to his supporters in which he said today made him “proud to be American” and proud to be living in a country with a constitution that affirms “all people are created equal.”
“The Supreme Court’s decision will have an enormous impact on same-sex couples’ lives legally, fiscally and emotionally,” wrote Polis.
He also noted, however, that “there is still more work to be done” and called for passage of federal legislation that protects LGBT people from being discriminated against in the workplace, in schools or when it comes to housing or public accommodations.
“We must gain strength from this tremendous triumph and take action now to ensure that members of the LGBT community are treated equally and have the same protections under the law as every other American,” stated Polis.
While gay Congressman Mark Takano (D-Riverside), the first out member of California’s congressional delegation, said Wednesday was “a monumental day” for all American families, he also promised to fight for additional protections for LGBT people.
“Even with these victories, the fight for equality is not over. Many legally married couples who now reside in states that do not recognize their marriages will not receive the full benefits of DOMA’s end unless Congress takes action,” noted Takano in a press release. “Millions more LGBT Americans live in states that give no recognition to their relationships whatsoever, and we must continue to fight to end this injustice.”
Takano, who will be in San Francisco this Sunday, June 30, to participate in the city’s Pride events and parade, added, “I remain committed to this movement and will explore all possible options to ensure that all Americans, regardless of who they love, are treated the same under the law.”
Lesbian U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin), the first out person to serve in the Senate, posted a two-minute video on her official website responding to the court rulings in which she noted that many Americans “want a country that is more equal, not less.”
She, too, said the LGBT community’s “fight to make America more equal will not end with the court rulings,” even though they are a “huge step forward.”