Mayor Michael Bloomberg also spoke in support of the ruling, saying the high court’s ruling “brings us another step forward in the march of freedom.”
“Generation after generation has removed barriers to full participation in the American dream, with each generation helping our country take another step on the road to a more perfect union for all citizens,” Bloomberg said in a statement.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn called the decision “a great victory for the LGBT community, for all Americans and for the dream our nation’s founders had when they first wrote that we are all created equal.”
“We believe that everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — and that means the right to love, to build a life and a home and a family,” she said in a statement.
Quinn, who’s openly gay, said she text messaged her wife, Kim, when the Supreme Court’s ruling came down.
Speaking in the Red Room at City Hall, Quinn choked up and wiped tears away at times when she spoke about the decision and Windsor.
“She has changed the world and put us in a situation where we now have the march for marriage equality in every state in the union. We will move forward in that march with the wind at our back, with an affirmation from the Supreme Court,” said Quinn. “When our founding fathers said we were all created equal, they may not have actually meant it at that moment in time, those individuals. But they put us on a path that’s going to get us there as a country.”
Quinn said the importance of the ruling can’t be understated for gay Americans.
“All of our hopes and dreams came true at the Supreme Court today,” she said.
Other lawmakers joined in at the press conference speaking out in support of the Supreme Court’s decision.
“This morning, my husband and I laid in bed together and watched a computer and watched a blog to see whether or not today would be the day that I am recognized as a full American. And I am,” openly gay Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell said.
The challenge to DOMA was filed by 84-year-old New Yorker Edith Windsor, who sued the federal government after she was forced to pay $363,000 in estate taxes when her partner of 44 years, Thea Spyer, died in 2009.
Windsor would have paid nothing in inheritance taxes if she had been married to a man.
Windsor’s lawyer said because of Wednesday’s ruling, her client will get the back full amount of the estate taxes she paid plus interest.
“I’m honored and humbled and overjoyed to be here today to represent not only the thousands of Americans whose lives have been adversely impacted by the Defense of Marriage Act, but those whose hopes and dreams have been constricted by the same discriminatory law,” she said after the ruling Wednesday.
A crowd of supporters chanted Windsor’s name as she delivered her remarks on the ruling from West 13th Street in Greenwich Village on Wednesday afternoon.
“I thought we had every right to win, I thought our arguments were sound and everyone else’s were insane,” Windsor said.
She said she wrote three versions of her speech and cried when she learned she could read what she deemed the right one.
“It makes me feel incredibly proud. Incredibly proud and humbled,” Windsor told supporters.
“Because of her strength and courage, no gay person will ever again have to suffer the indignity that Edie experienced because of DOMA,” Windsor’s attorney Roberta Kaplan said.