On the day before Pride Week begins, we at Boston Pride are encouraged that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit here in Boston declared the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. DOMA, which became law in 1996, defines marriage as strictly between a man and a woman when it comes to federal laws and regulations. This means that benefits that come from the federal government, like Social Security benefits and the ability to file a federal income tax jointly, are restricted only to heterosexual marriages. It means that many married couples in Massachusetts are being denied the rights that our heterosexual family members and neighbors enjoy.
The past few months have been remarkable for those of us who care deeply about marriage equality and ensuring that members of our community enjoy equal protections under the law. As we begin Pride Week, with a flag raising kick off to be held at City Hall Plaza tomorrow at noon, we know we have much to celebrate. But the DOMA ruling reminds us that members of our community across the country and around the world are still struggling everyday to have access to rights and benefits that others take for granted. We applaud the three judges who have made this courageous decision and we look forward to the day when all are able to love and marry freely and without fear.