Reaction to the Boston appeals court’s decision to toss out the federal Defense of Marriage Act

Elected officials and activists from around Massachusetts and around the country are reacting to the First US Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Boston that the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional:

“Society should protect and strengthen marriage, not undermine it. The federal Defense of Marriage Act provides that type of protection, and we trust the U.S. Supreme Court will reverse the 1st Circuit’s erroneous decision.’’

“In allowing one state to hold the federal government, and potentially other states, hostage to redefine marriage, the 1st Circuit attempts a bridge too far. Under this rationale, if just one state decided to accept polygamy, the federal government and perhaps other states would be forced to accept it, too. The federal government had the right to step in against polygamy at one time in our nation’s history, and it has the right to step in against this attempt at marriage redefinition as well.’’


— Dale Schowengerdt, legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, an alliance of Christian attorneys

“I am very pleased by this unanimous decision by the First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. The current situation, in which the rights of some couples married in other states are recognized, while the rights of other couples married in those states are denied, is clearly a violation of the U.S. Constitution.’’

“This ruling vindicates the decision by the Obama administration not to defend the ‘Defense of Marriage Act,’ which denies rights to millions of Americans. It is also a tribute to the thoughtful, principled legal strategy by Mary Bonauto and her associates at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders.’’

“I am confident that the U.S. Supreme Court will add its support for this decision which is so firmly grounded in long-standing American constitutional principles.’’

— US Representative Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat

“This Court has followed the same flawed logic as the Margaret Marshall-led Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in throwing out the historical definition that marriage is between a man and a woman, the essential institution for the procreation and nurturing of children. The ruling refutes every credible study on the importance of mother-father led families in promoting a healthy society.’’


“This Court has the audacity to hold the federal government hostage and force all Americans to recognize a radical social experiment from Massachusetts. This is a denigration of our federalist system and its time-tested reliability.’’

— Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute

“I applaud the appeals court ruling for reaffirming what we in Massachusetts have known for some time now — same sex couples are entitled to the same rights and protections under the constitution as all other families. Anything less is discriminatory and runs counter to the values of equality and opportunity we hold dear in this country. This is another important step forward in the long walk towards justice.’’

— Governor Deval Patrick, Massachusetts Democrat

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