WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Susan Lupul of Irvington held a sign that read “Equality for All Families” as local officials called on the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a law that prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.
The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, was enacted in 1996 and denies same-sex couples benefits from the federal government, including those legally married in their home states. The high court heard arguments on the law Wednesday. Tuesday, it heard arguments on the constitutionality of Proposition 8 , a 2008 ballot proposition that banned same-sex marriage in California.
Rep. Nita Lowey (D-Harrison) said she voted for DOMA in 1996, but has changed her mind on the law and on same-sex marriage.
“It is unacceptable and wrong for the government to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples, and that is what the Defense of Marriage Act does,” Lowey said. “The Defense of Marriage Act must be overturned. It is time for marriage equality in America.”
The LOFT, a White Plains LGBT community center, had several of its members attend the press conference in support of marriage equality, including Lupul. The Irvington resident’s partner died March 23, 2001 from heart and lung disease. Lupul wasn’t notified because New York had not legalized same-sex marriage at the time. While her partner, Beatrice Weinheiner, was in the hospital, Lupul said she would have to lie about who she was to be able to visit her partner.
“That has changed since 2001, but it’s still not recognized by the government federally,” Lupul said. “That’s discrimination. Marriage equality is a civil right.”
However, she said she is hopeful the Supreme Court will overturn the law.
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