For Immediate Release
Joana Casas, Program Communications Manager
amfAR Hails Supreme Court Decisions on Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8
Rulings are Critical to Battling Stigma that Makes LGBT Communities Vulnerable
in the US and Around the World
NEW YORK, June 26, 2013—amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research on Wednesday praised a U.S. Supreme Court decision ruling that finds part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which bars gay and lesbian married couples from receiving the same federal benefits as opposite-sex spouses (Windsor v. United States), unconstitutional. The Supreme Court also avoided ruling on the validity of Proposition 8, the 2008 California initiative that banned same-sex marriage in the state.
In a vote of 5-4, the justices ruled that “DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment,” meaning that same-sex couples who are legally married will be entitled to equal treatment under federal law.
The justices also ruled 5-4 that the Supreme Court had no legal authority to decide the merits of a challenge to Proposition 8, leaving intact a lower-court ruling that struck down the state's voter-approved ban on gay marriage.
“The Supreme Court decisions today are a watershed moment for LGBT communities across the nation,” said amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost. “While long overdue, we applaud the recognition that fundamental rights that most Americans take for granted, such as the right to marry, should be equally available to same-sex and opposite-sex couples. Laws that promote equality and non-discrimination are the building blocks for LGBT equality and health.”
For many years, amfAR has advocated against stigmatizing and discriminating policies, noting that stigma fuels the AIDS epidemic among gay men and others.
“Stigma and discrimination play a fundamental role in gay men’s vulnerability to HIV,” said Chris Collins, amfAR’s vice president and director of public policy. “Battling stigma through legal reform, policy changes and education are central to ending AIDS in America and around the world.”
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and the advocacy of sound AIDS-related public policy. Since 1985, amfAR has invested more than $366 million in its programs and has awarded grants to more than 2,000 research teams worldwide. For more information, please visit www.amfar.org.