This week, 10th Circuit Appeals Court kicks off wave of appellate arguments
Apr 01, 2014 at 01:30 pm
We enter the second quarter of 2014 with 9 out of 9 federal judges so far having ruled against marriage discrimination just in recent months. And with 60 cases underway nationwide, and marriage cases reaching the federal appellate courts in the 4th (VA), 5th (TX), 6th (KY, MI, OH, TN), 9th (NV), and 10th (OK, UT) circuits, April kicks off another chapter in our campaign to win marriage nationwide.
On April 10 and 17, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit will hear oral arguments in Denver, Colorado on the first of these cases to reach the appellate level, from Utah and Oklahoma, respectively.
"What may well be the penultimate chapter in the freedom to marry movement begins next week in the Mountain West," Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry said about the Utah case's April 10 argument date last week. "We’re hopeful the federal appellate courts reaffirm what nine out of nine federal judges in recent months, numerous state attorneys general and other key leaders on both sides of the aisle, and a super-majority of Americans have all come to understand: marriage discrimination is unconstitutional."
To continue making the case for marriage in the court of public opinion, Freedom to Marry worked as a leading partner on two public education campaigns in these states. Last month, we helped to launch Utah Unites for Marriage, a coalition of state and national partners in Utah. And on April 1, we helped to launch Freedom Oklahoma with The Equality Network. These campaigns seek to amplify the conversation about why marriage matters in Utah, Oklahoma, across the 10th Circuit, and throughout the country – all part of our strategy, which has long called for creating the climate that maximizes the chances of winning in court.
Over the next few months, as the 7 other cases - and likely many of the 52 other lawsuits that have so far been filed in 21 additional states/territories - receive rulings, decisions from federal appellate courts will multiply. We hope to win them all, expect to win many, and may even lose some. But our eyes, as always, are on the prize, and we are focused on making sure that elected officials, judges, and, yes, the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court all know that America is ready for the freedom to marry, and for them to do the right thing and bring the country to national resolution.
The national strategy has always been to win marriage nationwide in the Supreme Court, and the key to encouraging the Court to finish the job has always been to work the tracks of the Roadmap to Victory: growing public support, winning marriage in more states, and ending federal discrimination.
"Freedom to Marry’s aim is not just to get to the Supreme Court, but to win in the Supreme Court," Evan Wolfson continued: "As we reach the federal appellate courts with momentum and majority support in every region of the country, it’s clear that America is ready for the freedom to marry."
Freedom to Marry has been tracking litigation with our Marriage Litigation resource to provide a comprehensive overview at all of the marriage-related legal cases already underway. Special thanks to Kathleen Perrin at Equality Case Files for always being thorough in posting essential documents from the courts.
And, in partnership with the National Center for Lesbian Rights (counsel in the Utah case), Freedom to Marry has also created a comprehensive, readable resource - 10thCircuit.org. The site is a one-stop source for background on the cases, friend-of the-court briefs, plaintiff profiles, recent polling and context about the state-of-play in Utah, Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Kansas – the six states covered by the 10th Circuit.