One of America's fundamental guarantees of freedom, and one part of our system of "checks and balances," is an independent judiciary: judges who do their job of assuring constitutional and legal equality and justice for all, rather than just rubberstamping whatever politicians or the passions of the moment might dictate.
The growing consensus in courtrooms across the country is that there is simply no good reason to exclude same-sex couples from marriage. For several years, landmark court cases have challenged marriage discrimination at the state and federal level - and in 2013, the freedom to marry finally had its first day at the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court decided in Windsor v. United States that the federal government must equally honor and respect legal marriages between same-sex couples, extending to them the same protections and responsibilities that marriage triggers at the federal level for married different-sex couples. A number of other cases - including Hollingsworth v. Perry, Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, and Varnum v. Brien - have led to the freedom to marry for couples in California, Massachusetts, and Iowa, respectively.
Attacks on judges and the courts for doing their job are nothing new — going back to the denunciations of "activists judges" and billboards demanding the impeachment of the Supreme Court justices who ruled in favor of equality in cases such as Brown v. Board of Education. This disregard of the American judiciary was on full display during the 2010 Election, when anti-gay organizations and leaders flooded Iowa with money to unseat three Iowa Supreme Court justices for upholding the state’s constitutional principles.
Every American, gay or non-gay, is entitled to their day in court. Numerous organizations across the country are representing same-sex couples and their families in order to secure marriage to protect all families.
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Today the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, VA ruled in favor of same-sex couples’ freedom to marry, upholding a marriage ruling out of Virginia from February.
Next month, same-sex couples in six different states will get their day in court at the federal appellate level when the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 6th Circuit and the 7th Circuit hold oral arguments in a wide range of legal cases seeking the freedom to marry or respect for marriages between same-sex couples legally performed in other states.
Today, July 25, a Florida judge struck down the state's marriage ban as unconstitutional in Miami-Dade County, just over one week after a similar ruling was announced in Monroe County.
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This is the piece that Evan Wolfson published in the September 11, 2001 edition of 'The Advocate,' laying out the pathway forward for the campaign to win marriage nationwide. The article serves as a blueprint for the movement for marriage.
Momentum for the freedom to marry continues to build. And it’s clear from the past few weeks the path ahead is dynamic and full of flashpoints, including in some of the more conservative parts of the country. This memo looks at what the recent Ohio, Oklahoma, and Utah court victories—and others potentially soon to come—mean in the context of our overall strategy to win the freedom to marry nationwide.
Tobias Barrington Wolff, Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, makes the case for marriage on the Hoover Institution's "Uncommon Knowledge" program.