This week on April 28, the U.S. Supreme Court began to hear oral argument in marriage cases out of Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee. Today’s oral argument is a historic moment that caps a collective decades-long movement for the freedom to marry – from families who fought for their marriages, to the legal teams and organizations who have shepherded these cases, to the campaign that has created the climate for success by building a critical mass of states and support. Together, our side’s high-powered attorneys are making a case to the court as compelling as the transformative case we’ve already made in the court of public opinion.
It is time now for the Supreme Court to finish the job on marriage, and get our country on the right side of history. The country is ready.
The cases being heard are:
Obergefell v. Hodges and Henry v. Hodges – “Respect for out-of-state marriages” cases from Ohio.
Bourke v. Beshear and Love v. Beshear – Respect and freedom to marry cases from Kentucky.
DeBoer v. Snyder – Freedom to marry case from Michigan.
Tanco v. Haslam – Respect case from Tennessee.
Mary Bonauto of GLAD (Gay & Lesbians Advocates & Defenders) will present the case that same-sex couples’ freedom to marry is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Douglas Hallward-Driemeier of Ropes & Gray will present the case that states must respect same-sex couples’ lawful marriages celebrated in other states.
In the past two years, 65 federal and state courts across the country have ruled in favor of the freedom to marry. The 6th Circuit is the only court of appeals since Windsor to rule that the freedom to marry can constitutionally be denied to same-sex couples.
A Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted in April 2015 shows that 61% – a supermajority – of Americans support the freedom to marry. A February CNN poll shows that 63% of Americans believe marriage for same-sex couples is a constitutional right. A Williams Institute analysis shows, in fact, that in states where the freedom to marry is legal, support accelerates the fastest.
Same-sex couples can marry in nearly three-fourths of the country, but 13 states still ban marriage for same-sex couples. This patchwork of marriage discrimination in America is unsustainable, burdening businesses as well as families.
Opponents’ arguments against the freedom to marry simply lack logic, let alone evidence, as a cascade of courts – including many conservative judges appointed by Reagan and both Bushes – and a majority of Americans have now come to see. Laws that single out same-sex couples and their families for unequal treatment cannot be squared with the core constitutional principles of equality and liberty.
It is time now for the Supreme Court to finish the job on marriage, and get our country on the right side of history. The Supreme Court should affirm the lower courts and the majority of Americans and rule in favor of the freedom to marry for all. The country is ready.