(NECN) – On Friday, the Supreme Court of the United States will discuss gay marriage.
Justices will review cases that seek to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
That's the law passed by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton that prevents gay couples to receive federal benefits.
Here to talk about the importance of the meeting is Arline Isaacson, co-chair of the Massachusetts gay and lesbian political caucus, and Vickie Henry, senior staff attorney at GLAD.
The outcome carries economic and social consequences for gay, lesbian and bisexual couples, who now are unable to access Social Security survivor benefits, file joint income taxes, inherit a deceased spouse's pension or obtain family health insurance. The other plaintiffs in the cases pending before the court include the state of Massachusetts, 13 couples and five widows and widowers.
“This is hugely significant. The Supreme Court is on the cusp of making decisions of historic proportions,” says Isaacson.
“The importance of federal recognition is enormous,” says Henry. “What DOMA does, it just basically erases marriages, legal marriages, of same-sex couples in the states where they are permitted to marry. It just says they don’t exist for all federal purposes. And that’s huge. What it’s saying is that we’re going to take this group of people married in Massachusetts and we’re going to say they’re not married and we’re going to treat them as second-class citizens. We have an equal protection guarantee under our Constitution, and we say that like should be treated alike, and that this law is a terrible law that violates that equal protection guarantee.
Watch the attached video for more.