February 28, 2013 1 Comment
As the date for the mother-of-all marriage equality showdowns draws closer, there’s been a flurry of “friend of the court” briefs filed this week.
Those wishing to be seen as standing on the right side of history when it comes to asking the court to overturn California’s Prop 8 and DOMA, include over 60 major corporations, including Apple, Facebook and Morgan Stanley, the thirteen states that now offer marriage equality, including Washington and Oregon, PFLAG and the Utah Pride Center.
The Salt Lake City Tribune reports, Utah Pride’s “…filing comes amid recent declarations of support for same-sex marriage from more than two dozen prominent Republicans, such as former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman. Last month, the LDS Church and other evangelical churches and groups submitted their legal arguments for traditional marriage.”
“The brief from the center — a nonprofit based in Salt Lake City to serve Utah’s LGBT community — also addresses LGBT service members coming to the Beehive State,” reports the paper.
President Obama, who has already given his support for an overturn of DOMA is also weighing in on Prop 8, “The Obama administration will throw its support behind a broad claim for marriage equality, urging the Supreme Court to rule that voters in California were not entitled to ban same-sex marriage there,” reported the New York Times on Wednesday.
NFL players the Vikings’ Chris Kluwe and the Baltimore Ravens’ Brendon Ayanbadejo have also filed a joint brief. According to the HRC,”The brief argues the importance of professional athletes – along with other traditionally “hidebound field like rap and R &B” — to stand on the right side of history as role models for American youth.”
“When we advance the idea that some people should be treated differently because of who they are, demeaned in public as lesser beings, not worthy of the same rights and benefits as others despite their actions as good citizens and neighbors, then we deny them equal protection under the laws. America has walked this path before, and courageous people and the Court brought us to the right result. We urge the Court to repeat those actions here,” Kluwe and Ayanbadejo write.
The first case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, is a direct challenge to California’s discriminatory Prop 8 law forbidding same-sex marriages. It was filed on behalf of two couples by attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies in May 2009. Last February, the Ninth Circuit court of Appeals upheld U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker’s 2010 ruling declaring Prop 8 unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in the case on March 26th.
The second case, United States v. Windsor, challenges the federal government’s denial of benefits to legally married gay and lesbian couples under a law known as the Defense of Marriage Act.
According to the Kent College of Law, “The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), enacted in 1996, states that, for the purposes of federal law, the words “marriage” and “spouse” refer to legal unions between one man and one woman. Since that time, some states have authorized same-sex marriage. In other cases regarding the DOMA, federal courts have ruled it unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment, but the courts have disagreed on the rationale.”
Scotusblog reports that the judges will be deciding,”(1) Whether Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violates the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws as applied to persons of the same sex who are legally married under the laws of their State; (2) whether the Executive Branch’s agreement with the court below that DOMA is unconstitutional deprives this Court of jurisdiction to decide this case; and (3) whether the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives has Article III standing in this case.”
They’ll hear that case on March 27th.
The Justices will question lawyers for each side at hearings scheduled to last an hour each.
LGBT groups across the country are planning marches, or similar actions, during the pivotal week to show their support. (Click HERE to learn more.)