the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney on the President's Statement in Response to the Supreme Court Ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act aboard Air Force One en route Senegal, 6/26/13

Aboard Air Force One
En Route Senegal

12:00 P.M. EDT

MR. CARNEY:  So this is the only paper statement, only statement from the President on the Supreme Court decision on DOMA.  So I'm just here to provide you that statement and also to tell you -- which has been released at home -- that the President made two phone calls from Air Force One after the ruling, after we were made aware of the rulings.

The first was to Edie Windsor.  Edie is the plaintiff in United States v. Windsor in the Defense of Marriage Act.  And the President congratulated her on this victory, which was a long time in the making, said he was heartened by the Court's decision to strike down Section 3 of DOMA so that loving, committed couples could enjoy full equality under the law.  And, he said, that it is fitting that this historic ruling should come today, just 10 years after the Court struck down laws making same-sex relationships illegal in Lawrence v. Texas.

Separately, he called Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign, and the plaintiffs and legal team involved with the Proposition 8 case -- it was one call on speaker phone -- and congratulated them on a tremendous victory today.  He noted that although the Court did not address the constitutionality of Proposition 8, today's ruling is a victory for Kris, Sandy, Paul and Jeff -- these are plaintiffs in Prop 8 -- and to all loving, committed couples in the state of California. 

This is paraphrasing the President, but the President noted that the laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans have come to accept -- we are all more free when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love.  So he made those two calls.  You had asked how he was made aware of it.  I'm not sure if it was the case back here, but we lost connectivity right at the critical moment.  We also lost Internet connectivity briefly.  But we were able to learn via telephone.

Q    Who called him?

MR. CARNEY:  The President spoke with Kathy Ruemmler, White House Counsel.  Before they spoke, we had gotten a call from White House staff in the office just first with the DOMA ruling, and then with the decision not to address the constitutionality of Prop 8.

Q    Did he fist pump into the air or was there any sort of reaction?

MR. CARNEY:  He was obviously pleased.  He believes that this is a very good day for civil rights in our country and was just glad to see the decisions come down as they did.

12:05 P.M. EDT