LGBT Rights Groups React To SCOTUS

Freedom To Marry

“The Supreme Court’s decision today begins what we hope will be the last chapter in our campaign to win marriage nationwide – and it’s time,” said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry. “Freedom to Marry’s national strategy has been to build a critical mass of marriage states and critical mass of support for ending marriage discrimination, and after a long journey and much debate, America is ready for the freedom to marry. But couples are still discriminated against in 14 states, and the patchwork of discrimination harms families and businesses throughout the country. We will keep working hard to underscore the urgency of the Supreme Court’s bringing the country to national resolution, so that by June, all Americans share in the freedom to marry and our country stands on the right side of history.”

People For The American Way

“This is unquestionably an important step towards marriage equality for all Americans,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way Foundation. “Since the Sixth Circuit got this wrong and denied people in four states their basic rights, the Supreme Court did the right thing by taking these cases. Now the Court needs to do the right thing by making a clear statement about the Constitution’s guarantee of fundamental equality for all people. The time is long overdue for every American to have the right to marry the person they love.” “That said, this is likely to be yet another five-four decision from the Court that gave us Citizens United and Hobby Lobby and gutted the Voting Rights Act. That should be a reminder that our fundamental rights are in jeopardy in our nation’s highest court— and the future of the Court and these rights will be in the next President’s hands. Americans should be able to depend on the Supreme Court to defend the rights of ordinary Americans—whether that’s the right to marry, or to vote, or to be treated fairly on the job, or to control their own reproductive health.

National Center For Lesbian Rights

The Tennessee plaintiff couples are Dr. Valeria Tanco and Dr. Sophy Jesty of Knoxville; Army Reserve Sergeant First Class Ijpe DeKoe and Thom Kostura of Memphis; and Matthew Mansell and Johno Espejo of Franklin. They are represented by Shannon Minter, Christopher F. Stoll, and David C. Codell of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Tennessee attorneys Abby Rubenfeld, Maureen Holland, and Regina Lambert, and the law firms of Sherrard & Roe PLC and Ropes & Gray LLP. Today’s decision follows the couples’ request that the Supreme Court hear the case to ensure that the marriages of same-sex couples are treated equally across the country. “This is an important day because it means that our family will finally have an opportunity to share our story with the Court and explain how this discriminatory law hurts us each day,” said Tanco, who has a young daughter with Jesty. “We live in fear for ourselves and our little girl because we don’t have the same legal protections in Tennessee as other families. We are hopeful the Supreme Court will resolve this issue so we no longer need to live in fear.”

Lambda Legal

The U.S. Supreme Court today announced it has granted review of all six marriage equality cases decided by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, including two Ohio cases litigated by Lambda Legal, the ACLU and Gerhardstein & Branch. The two cases are Henry v. Hodges, where Lambda Legal joined Gerhardstein & Branch, and Obergefell v. Hodges, where the ACLU joined Gerhardstein & Branch. Oral argument is expected to take place later this year. “After years of struggle and the dedicated work of thousands across the movement, we are finally within sight of the day when same-sex couples across the country will be able to share equally in the joys, protections and responsibilities of marriage,” said Jon W. Davidson, Legal Director and Eden/Rushing Chair at Lambda Legal. “While these cases will carry the marriage standard before the Supreme Court, they represent literally dozens of cases in state and federal courts nationwide and the collective effort of Lambda Legal, NCLR, the ACLU, GLAD, and other sister LGBT groups and private (often pro-bono) counsel dating back years.”

ACLU

The American Civil Liberties Union and Stanford Law School Supreme Court Litigation Clinic are co-counsel in the two Kentucky cases, Bourke v. Beshear and Love v. Beshear, brought by lawyers at Clay Daniel Walton & Adams and the Fauver Law Office. These cases challenge Kentucky’s anti-marriage laws on the ground that they violate due process and equal protection provisions of the U.S. Constitution. The ACLU along with Lambda Legal and Gerhardstein & Branch are also co-counsel in the Ohio case, Obergefell, et al v. Hodges. “We are thrilled the court will finally decide this issue,” said James Esseks, director of the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & HIV Project. “The country is ready for a national solution that treats lesbian and gay couples fairly. Every single day we wait means more people die before they have a chance to marry, more children are born without proper protections, more people face medical emergencies without being able to count on recognition of their spouses. It is time for the American values of freedom and equality to apply to all couples.”