Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell:
(San Francisco, CA, March 26, 2013)Today, the United States Supreme Court heard oral argument in the constitutional challenge to California's Proposition 8. The Court heard one hour of arguments from attorneys supporting and opposing the constitutionality of Prop 8.
Prop 8 is the 2008 measure that stripped marriage equality from same-sex couples in California, and was struck down in 2010 by former Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who found that the measure discriminates against same-sex couples in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The decision striking down Prop 8 was upheld last year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
A decision in the case is expected by the end of June 2013.
Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq.:
"The passage of Proposition 8 was among the ugliest and most dispiriting moments in the history of California and our nation. Proposition 8 literally carved out same-sex couples from the full protection of the California Constitution and told them that they alone were no longer entitled to equality before the law. No other state has ever attempted such a direct attack on same-sex couples and their children, and we believe the Supreme Court will agree that Proposition 8 is a grievous offense to our Constitution's promise of equality."
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. www.NCLRights.org .
From American Foundation for Equal Rights
Washington, DC Today, the United States Supreme Court heard oral argument in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the federal constitutional challenge to California's Proposition 8. The Court is considering whether Proposition 8 violates the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Enacted in November 2008, Proposition 8 eliminated the fundamental right of gay and lesbian Californians to marry. On December 7, 2012, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Perry to review the landmark federal court of appeals ruling that upheld the decision of the federal district court that found Proposition 8 unconstitutional. On February 28, 2013, the United States Government filed a brief as amicus curiae in support of the Plaintiffs challenging Proposition 8.
Theodore B. Olson of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP presented argument on behalf of the Plaintiffs challenging Proposition 8. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. presented argument on behalf of the United States as amicus curiae in support of the Plaintiffs. Charles J. Cooper of Cooper & Kirk, PLLC presented argument on behalf of the Proponents of Proposition 8.
"This case is about marriage and equality. The Plaintiffs we represent are two loving couples who, like millions of other gay and lesbian Americans, are being denied the fundamental right to marry and the right to be treated with equal dignity and respect under the law," said Plaintiffs' lead co-counsel Theodore B. Olson, who served as Solicitor General from 2001 to 2004. "This discrimination cannot be squared with the principle of equality and the unalienable right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness that is the bedrock promise of our Constitution. The day it is ended, we will be closer to fulfilling the dream of all Americans."
"Fourteen times the Supreme Court has stated that the freedom to marry is one of the most fundamental rightsif not the most fundamental rightof all Americans," said Plaintiffs' lead co-counsel David Boies of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP. "The denial of the right to marry causes grave harm to gay and lesbian Americans and the children they are raising. It serves no legitimate state interest. As full and equal citizens under our Constitution, gay and lesbian Americans cannot be denied the basic, fundamental freedom to marry."
"Our PlaintiffsKris and Sandy, and Paul and Jefflike millions of other gay and lesbian Americans, are asking for the government to honor their fundamental right to marry and to treat them with equal dignity and respect under the law," said Adam Umhoefer, executive director at the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), the sole sponsor of Hollingsworth v. Perry. "We are proud of the powerful and compelling constitutionally-based argument for marriage equality we made before the Supreme Court today, and look forward to the day when, very soon, our great nation's promise of liberty and equality will be realized for all Americans."
Oral argument in Hollingsworth v. Perry was attended by, among others, Plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, and Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo; and AFER Board President Bruce Cohen and AFER Board Members Dustin Lance Black, Chad Griffin, Jonathan Lewis, Ken Mehlman, and Rob and Michele Reiner.
"Today is a monumental day, not just for Sandy and me, but for the millions of other Americans across the country who have waited for years for the Supreme Court to consider whether they too should enjoy the right to marry," said Plaintiff Kris Perry. "Witnessing today's proceedings gives me hope that our four sons, and kids across America, will soon live in a country where love and equality prevail."
"Today's oral argument before the Supreme Court marks the start of the final chapter of our four-year journey toward equality," said Plaintiff Paul Katami. "The argument advanced by our incredible legal team to the nine Justices is clear and unequivocal: equal justice under law means equal justice for all. We are confident that one day, very soon, this core American value will be realized and Proposition 8 and laws like it throughout the nation will be eliminated."
In addition to the brief submitted by the United States Government, more than 50 briefs of amici curiae were filed in support of the Plaintiffs challenging Proposition 8. Amici include 131 prominent Republican leaders, 100 American companies, leaders of religious and faith groups, the State of California and thirteen other states, and family and children's rights organizations.
A decision from the Supreme Court in Hollingsworth v. Perry is expected by the end of June 2013.
READ PLAINTIFFS' BRIEF HERE: www.afer.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/2013-02-21-Plaintiffs-Brief.pdf
READ THE UNITED STATES' BRIEF HERE: www.afer.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/12-144tsacUnitedStates.pdf
READ PROPONENTS' BRIEF HERE: www.afer.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/2013-01-22-Proponents-Brief.pdf
READ PROPONENTS' REPLY BRIEF HERE: www.afer.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/2013-03-29-Proponents-Reply-Brief.pdf
READ THE SUPREME COURT'S ORDER GRANTING CERTIORARI HERE: www.afer.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/2012-12-07-Certiorari-Granted.pdf
The American Foundation for Equal Rights is the sole sponsor of Hollingsworth v. Perry, the federal constitutional challenge to California's Proposition 8.
Check out and share GLAAD photos and videos from D.C. at www.glaad.org/marriage .
Human Rights Campaign: As Supreme Court hears arguments on marriage, equality logo goes viral
WASHINGTON The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, yesterday released a modified red version of its logo in anticipation of arguments at the Supreme Court on two marriage equality cases. The logo, which ordinarily features a yellow equal sign in front of a blue background, has gone viral on social media pages across the world.
"It's unquestionable that marriage equality has captured the imagination of Americans from all walks of life. You see that represented today by the amazing number of people that have shared their passion and enthusiasm for this issue through various digital platforms," said HRC Director of Marketing Anastasia Khoo. "By harnessing the passion that equality supporters feel for the freedom of loving and committed couples to marry, the internet is awash in a sea of red the color of love."
Just today, U.S. Senator Jon Tester, D-Mont., announced his support of marriage equality for the first time by changing his Facebook profile image to HRC's red equal sign and many other public officials have followed suit. Additionally, dozens of other iterations have spring up, with many individuals superimposing the equal sign over personal pictures or integrating it with other internet memes. For example, the popular TV show True Blood shared a version of the photo with vampire fangs as part of the equal sign.
As part of HRC's robust social media efforts around the two cases before the Supreme Court, the red logo launched on the HRC Facebook page at 1:00pm ET Monday and the original image has been shared more than 100,000 times and created upwards of 10 million impressions in all 50 states not including countless user-created versions. Additionally HRC.org has seen a 600% increase in normal traffic.
In addition to the logo being a constant presence on social media, HRC conducted highly targeted online marketing to provide supporters on the ground with digital support. This included promoted tweets on search terms and trends related to the Supreme Court cases. Geo-targeted mobile banner advertising was also targeted to users within a quarter mile of the U.S. Supreme Court building to inform them of the bipartisan support for marriage equality and how they could get updates on the cases.
Originally designed in 1995, the blue and yellow HRC equality logo is one of the most visible and recognized symbols of the LGBT equality movement. A number of prominent Americans have shared the modified HRC logo, including U.S. Senators Chris Coons, Al Franken, Mazie Hirono, Frank Lautenberg, Bob Menendez, Chris Murphy, Patty Murray, Bernie Sanders, Brian Schatz, Jean Shaheen, Jon Tester, Mark Warner and Elizabeth Warren, as well as celebrities like Sophia Bush, George Takei, Tegan & Sara and Lance Bass.
NOW Calls on Supreme Court to reject bigotry, recognize rundamental right of same-sex couples to marry
Statement of NOW President Terry O'Neill, March 26, 2013
As the Supreme Court hears arguments today and tomorrow in two pivotal marriage equality cases, it is important to recognize the evolution that has taken place in the United States on this issue.
NOW began its work for lesbian rights in 1971, and nearly two decades ago affirmed the choice of marriage as a fundamental right that should not be denied to same-sex couples. Since that time, a sea change has occurred in this nation thanks to the tireless and courageous work of activists at NOW, LGBT and other social justice organizations. We have worked in the streets, public forums, legislatures, voting booths and courts to change laws and opinions. Even some of our opponents eventually came around. Today, polls show that a majority of people in the country believe same-sex couples should be able to legally wed.
Marriage equality is a feminist issue, not merely because achieving lesbian rights has long been one of NOW's core issues. Same-sex couples denied recognition of their marriages lose some 1,000 federal benefits, but lesbian couples are hit disproportionately by this injustice. According to The Washington Post, lesbian couples with children are especially at risk for poverty nearly two and a half times as likely as heterosexual couples with kids, and 1.8 times as likely as their gay male counterparts, to qualify for some form of public assistance. Burdened by gender-based discrimination on top of discrimination based on sexual orientation, lesbian-led families can least afford to lose out on the benefits that legal recognition of marriage provides.
NOW and the NOW Foundation are signatories of three friend-of-the-court briefs in Hollingsworth v. Perry and U.S. v. Windsor the cases before the Supreme Court this week. In a brief filed by NOW Foundation and the Feminist Majority Foundation, we argue that California's Proposition 8 not only has no legitimate purpose, it has an affirmatively illegitimate purpose under both California and federal law taking a side in a religious debate. NOW signed on to two other briefs, led by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, which urge the Supreme Court to apply the same heightened scrutiny to discrimination based on sexual orientation as discrimination based on race.
Right now, there are loving, committed couples couples just starting their lives together, couples with children dependent upon them, couples who have shared lifetimes together who are denied the same rights and benefits as other couples in this country simply because they love someone of the same sex. NOW calls on the Supreme Court to end this shameful injustice without delay.
Also see "NCLR Responds to U.S. Supreme Court Oral Argument in Proposition 8 Case", here: www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/NCLR-Responds-to-US-Supreme-Court-Oral-Argument-in-Proposition-8-Case-/42102.html .
and "American Constitution Society for Law and Policy: Prop 8 counter to core constitutional value of equality, here: www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/ACS-Prop-8-counter-to-core-constitutional-value-of-equality/42103.html .