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Pocan, Baldwin hail court ruling against DOMA

Jun 26, 2013
In The News

Washington, D.C. -- Madison Democrat Mark Pocan, the only gay married member of Congress, hailed Wednesday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said legally married gay and lesbian couples are entitled to federal marriage benefits.

“I am ecstatic," said Pocan at a news conference with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and several gay House colleagues. "But it shows the path we still have to go."

Pocan’s own marriage will not receive federal recognition as a result of the ruling because his home state, Wisconsin, does not allow same-sex marriage.

The high court ruling requires the federal government to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who are legally married in the states where they reside.

Pocan was married in Canada in 2006, but his own state of Wisconsin is not among the 12 states that currently permit marriages of same-sex couples.

"It's a very important day," said Pocan. "However, that also reminds me that I live in the state of Wisconsin, and as someone who has been with my partner for almost 11 years and married for over six and half, we still face barriers, and we have to make sure that every single person who gets in that loving, committed relationship can be recognized."

Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay U.S. senator, said in a statement:

"The nation’s highest court reaffirmed our founding belief that all Americans are created equal under the law. The Court made a strong statement for equality and freedom, overturning discrimination against gay and lesbian American citizens simply because of who they love."

Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, a defender of the law struck down by the court, said in a statement that, "I'm disappointed in the decision, and the marriage debate will continue in the states."

Pocan told reporters on a conference call that he was standing amid the crowd outside the Supreme Court Wednesday morning as the ruling was being announced.

"Most people couldn't get on to Scotusblog," he said, referring to a leading blog about the high court. "All of a sudden we heard some cheers and saw it on a Twitter message  coming through. That's how we found out, along with so many other people."