Where Does the Supreme Court Go Next With Marriage Equality?

Marriage_4_5_2013This past week was a historic time for civil rights in this country. Up for consideration before the Supreme Court were two landmark cases—each with the potential to define the contours of marriage in this country for years to come. There was dense discussion of case law, legal procedure, and even a question of whether or not the right people were present to defend Proposition 8 (Perry) and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) (Windsor). But at their heart, both the Perry and the Windsor cases come down to a couple simple propositions: 1) whether a person in this country is allowed to marry the person they want to and 2) whether the federal government will recognize all legal marriages in this country.

Increasingly, this doesn’t seem to be a question for many Americans. A 2013 CBS News poll in late March found that more than one-half (53%) of Americans support same-sex marriage. Polls of Latinos show the very same or higher levels of support, including a Pew poll, which found that 52% of Hispanics support same-sex marriage. Yet, for the justices who are now deliberating on these questions, it is still unclear, even to the seasoned court observer, what they will decide. We now enter the ultimate waiting game. Decisions are expected at the end of the Court’s term in late June.

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Equal Justice Under Law

166790_10151391491476247_2013890949_nNCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía addresses the crowd of marriage equality supporters on the steps of the Supreme Court. Photo: Ruben Gonzalez

Those are the words carved above the entrance to the Supreme Court, and those emphasized by Janet Murguía, NCLR’s President and CEO, as we rallied to recognize the love of millions of committed couples across the country.

Today was an exciting time to be a supporter of marriage quality. Around 10:00 a.m., the first landmark marriage equality case (Hollingsworth v. Perry, also known as the Proposition 8 case) was argued before the nine justices of the Supreme Court. At stake was whether the state of California could prevent same-sex couples from marrying. The public will likely not know what the justices decide until late June.

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We Stand on the Side of Equality

United For Marriage

Next week, as the U.S. Supreme Court hears two cases concerning same-sex marriage, thousands will gather outside the Court steps to show their support for marriage equality.  As a coalition partner of United for Marriage, the organization coordinating this effort, and as a member of the Respect for Marriage Coalition, NCLR will proudly stand with our supporters and numerous other organizations to let the Supreme Court justices know we believe in fairness and justice under the law.

The two cases being heard Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, are Hollingsworth v. Perry (regarding Proposition 8) and United States v. Windsor (regarding DOMA).  Earlier this month, we signed onto a friend-of-the-court brief urging the justices to overturn both DOMA and Proposition 8.  The two cases mark a pivotal moment in the struggle for equality as public support for same-sex marriage has hit a new high.  Indeed, a 2012 study commissioned by NCLR and the Arcus Foundation also found that one-half of Latinos believe in marriage equality.  It is clear America is ready for this.  We’ve been down a similar road as a country before.  It wasn’t so long ago that the Supreme Court was faced with deciding on the freedom to marry for interracial couples.  In the Loving v. Virginia case, the justices stood for the rights of biracial couples to be married.  The Court understood then the deep injustices perpetrated against couples in committed, loving relationships.  We hope that they will once again rule in favor of fairness and recognize that equal protection in marriage is not a privilege but a fundamental right that is withheld from millions of LGBT Americans.

Help us amplify this message in Washington, DC!  Join us Tuesday, March 26 for this historic event.  The rally starts outside the Supreme Court at 8:30 a.m. EDT.  For the full schedule of events, transportation, and places to stay in Washington, please log in to the United for Marriage information page.  If you can’t make it to Washington, there are events happening all over the country in solidarity.  We’ll also be tweeting the day’s events so you can join the conversation online.  Just follow #United4Amor on Twitter.

Check out the list of speakers below, which includes our President and CEO, Janet Murguía, and be sure to join in. We’ll see you there!


NCLR Weighs In on Supreme Court Challenges to Overturn DOMA and Proposition 8

Photo: JBrazito

Photo: JBrazito

The Supreme Court will decide on the constitutionality of the government’s so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 later this month. The cases being heard are United States v. Windsor (DOMA) and Hollingsworth v. Perry (Proposition 8).  In advance of those oral arguments, today NCLR joined a sea of concerned citizens and organizations in filing friend-of-the-court, or amicus, briefs urging the Court to overturn both DOMA and Proposition 8.

We’re especially proud to be joining our sister organizations, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), as co-signatories to the amicus briefs.  We’ve long known that Latinos support marriage equality for all, but recent polling of our community confirms it.  The Windsor case in particular has many implications for Latinos, not the least being the issue of binational couples who are too often torn apart because of DOMA and our broken immigration system.  The time has come for the Supreme Court to put an end to this debate and compel the federal government to recognize all legal marriages, not just those it chooses to.

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