During the first half of May, there were more civil unions than marriages in Denver -- and more ceremonies like these may be taking place not only here but across the country now that the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, also known as DOMA. Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall, plus the ACLU of Colorado, have already reacted to this groundbreaking ruling. See what they had to say, supplemented by photos from the May 1 civil unions event immediately after the new law went into effect. Senator Michael Bennet release:
Bennet: Supreme Court Decision on DOMA a Historic Step for Civil Rights
Washington, DC -- Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet issued the following statement on the Supreme Court's decision finding the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional in a 5-4 ruling.
"Today is a historic step forward for civil rights. The Supreme Court's decision affirms that all couples, regardless of their sexual orientation, deserve the same rights and opportunities under the law that my wife and I enjoy. The Defense of Marriage Act was a discriminatory law that unfairly treated LGBT couples differently, and has rightly been relegated to the dust bin of history."
Continue to see more photos of Denver's first civil unions, in honor of the U.S. Supreme Court striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, plus additional local reaction. ACLU release:
Defense of Marriage Act Invalidated by the Supreme Court
Colorado's ban on marriage equality puts state at a moral and competitive disadvantage after ruling
Statement of ACLU of Colorado Executive Director Nathan Woodliff-Stanley on the Supreme Court's ruling on the ACLU lawsuit, Windsor v. United States, invalidating the discriminatory policies of the Defense of Marriage Act.
"Today is a great day for equality and the beginning of the end for official discrimination against lesbians and gay men. The Defense of Marriage Act is the last federal law on the books that mandates discrimination against gay people just because they're gay, and today the Supreme Court took down its core.
"In Colorado, we recently made important progress by allowing same-sex couples to enter into civil unions. But civil unions are not the same as marriage, and won't qualify couples for all the federal benefits that marriage would. Today's decision only holds some promise for those same-sex couples living in Colorado who married elsewhere: the federal government will recognize their marriage in certain instances. But this decision does not allow same-sex couples to marry in Colorado and it does not change the fact that many married same-sex couples living in Colorado are not considered married by our state.
"All loving and committed couples in Colorado should have the right to marry. The impediment is Colorado's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, which is a relic of the same discriminatory sentiment that produced DOMA. It is unjust and, after today, it puts our state at both a moral and competitive disadvantage against states that recognize full marriage equality. The ACLU of Colorado is committed to ending our state's ban on marriage equality, so that all Coloradans can marry."
Continue to see more photos of Denver's first civil unions, in honor of the U.S. Supreme Court striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, plus additional local reaction. Senator Mark Udall release:
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Udall Welcomes Supreme Court Decision Striking Down Discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, Pledges to Continue Fight for Full Marriage Equality
Court 'Affirmed Colorado Values and Constitution's Promise of Equality'
Mark Udall welcomed the U.S. Supreme Court's decision today to strike down the discriminatory federal Defense of Marriage Act, thus ensuring that all marriages receive equal treatment under federal law. Udall also welcomed the Court's decision on California's Proposition 8, which has the effect of reinstating marriage equality in California.
"Every couple should be able to make a public affirmation to their communities, families and friends of their shared commitment and responsibilities to the person they love, regardless of their sexual orientation," Udall said. "Today the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed Colorado values and the U.S. Constitution's promise of equality. Promoting the commitment and shared responsibility that comes with marriage strengthens our families, our communities and our nation. I'm proud to stand with Coloradans celebrating today's groundbreaking decisions and pledge to continue fighting for full marriage equality."
The Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in a 5-4 decision. The Court also ruled 5-4 that petitioners in the Proposition 8 case did not have standing, thereby reinstating marriage equality in California.
Udall, who led the push to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," has been a vocal advocate of striking down discriminatory and misguided laws against committed, married gay couples on both the state and federal level, including California's Proposition 8. Udall signed onto a legal brief to the U.S. Supreme Court calling the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.
Continue to see more photos of Denver's first civil unions, in honor of the U.S. Supreme Court striking down the Defense of Marriage Act.
More from our Things to Do archive: "Civil unions photos: Meet four couples who made it legal last night."