New York State Bar Association President Vincent E. Doyle III of Buffalo (Connors & Vilardo LLP) issued the following statement in response to President Barack Obama's endorsement of legislation that would repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA):

"We applaud President Obama for supporting federal legislation sponsored by Senator Diane Feinstein and Representative Jerrold Nadler that would repeal DOMA. The repeal of this unfortunate and discriminatory law is a long-time priority of the New York State Bar Association.

"This Sunday same-sex couples finally will be able to legally marry in New York. While that is a tremendous step forward in achieving equality and fairness, that victory is marred by the continued existence of DOMA.

"Sadly, it denies certain federal benefits -- such as spousal Social Security benefits or the ability to file joint tax returns -- granted to other married couples.  DOMA also permits other states to disregard the marital status of New York's same-sex couples.
 
"New York has spoken in a clear, bipartisan voice that same-sex couples in our state are entitled to the same legal rights as other married New Yorkers. That goal can't be realized until this discriminatory federal law is gone once and for all.

"By taking this strong stand, President Obama puts us one step closer to full legal equality that same-sex couples deserve. We hope Congress will listen to the President and pass DOMA's repeal."

The 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.

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Contact: Lise Bang-Jensen
Director of Media Services & Public Affairs
lbang-jensen@nysba.org
518/487-5530