Live Blog: Marriage at the Supreme Court
This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two key marriage cases: On Tuesday, the Court will hear oral arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the challenge to California's Proposition 8, and on Wednesday, the Court will hear oral arguments in Windsor v. United States, the challenge to the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. Through it all, Freedom to Marry will be live-blogging the arguments, providing you with background information about the cases, and ensuring that you have the most up-to-date information available. We'll also be sharing content from our coalition partners and showing you all of the ways that advocates have said in the past few months that it's #Time4Marriage. Read more background from these two landmark Supreme Court cases.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 27
OVERVIEW: Reflections on Today's Oral Arguments on DOMA
As this historic day draws to a close - the day that the Supreme Court heard arguments in a legal challenge to the so-called Defense of Marriage Act - there is, like yesterday, much to reflect on. It's been an exciting week for the freedom to marry, and these two days of oral arguments in these landmark cases have been underlined by enormous, outspoken support from gay and lesbian Americans, their family members, and the allies who support them.
The Court again discussed the issue of legal standing today, but went further into how DOMA interferes with states' decisions to embrace the freedom to marry and how it is unfair to deny legally married couples the same federal protections as married different-sex couples.
It would again be unwise to speculate on what the Supreme Court will decide in Windsor, or in Hollingsworth for that matter. We must continue to share stories of loving and committed same-sex couples, and we must continue to win more states - including, most pressingly, Delaware, Rhode Island, Illinois, and Minnesota - in order to make the case to the Court that it really is time for marriage.
Thanks so much for following along with the Freedom to Marry Live Blog over the past three days. This evening, we'll continue to compile some of the coverage from today's events and hearings below. After that, join us for our daily blog content here at FreedomtoMarry.org, on Facebook, Twitter, and our robust 'Right Side of History' Tumblr.
Thanks for your pasion, inspiration, and advocacy for the freedom to marry.
TRANSCRIPT AND AUDIO: Key Passages from Windsor Oral Arguments
The full transcript and audio from the oral arguments in Windsor are now available. CLICK HERE to download the full transcript (PDF). See some key passages below.
Listen for yourself HERE:
Key Passages from the Arguments:
- Justice Ginsberg: "[DOMA is] not a question of additional benefits. I mean, they touch every aspect of life. Your partner is sick. Social Security. I mean, it's pervasive. It's not as though, well, there's this little Federal sphere and it's only a tax question. It's - it's - as Justice Kennedy said, 1,100 statutes, and it affects every area of life. And so he was really diminishing what the State has said is marriage. You're saying, no, State said two kinds of marriage; the full marriage, and then this sort of skim milk marriage.
- Justice Kagan: "For the most part and historically, the only uniformity that the Federal Government has pursued is that it's uniformly recognized the marriages that are recognized by the State. So, this was a real difference in the uniformity that the Federal Government was pursuing. And it suggests that maybe something - maybe Congress had something different in mind than uniformity. So we have a whole series of cases which suggest the following: Which suggest that when Congress targets a group that is not everybody's favorite group in the world, that we look at those cases with some - even if they're not suspect -- with some rigor to say, do we really think that Congress was doing this for uniformity reasons, or do we think that Congress's judgment was infected by dislike, by fear, by animus, and so forth? I guess the question that this statute raises, this statute that does something that's really never been done before, is whether that sends up a pretty good red flag that that's what was going on."
- Roberta Kaplan: Congress did not stay out of it. Section 3 of DOMA is not staying out of it. Section 3 of DOMA is stopping the recognition by the Federal Government of couples who are already married, solely based on their sexual orientation, and what it's doing is undermining, as you can see in the briefs of the States of New York and others, it's undermining the policy decisions made by those States that have permitted gay couples to marry. States that have already resolved the cultural, the political, the moral -- whatever other controversies, they're resolved in those States. And by fencing those couples off, couples who are already married, and treating them as unmarried for purposes of Federal law, you're not -- you're not taking it one step at a time, you're not promoting caution, you're putting a stop button on it, and you're having discrimination for the first time in our country's history against a class of married couples."
3:20 p.m. - Evan Wolfson Speaks on How DOMA Hurts on Fox News
Freedom to Marry Founder and President appears on Fox News to speak out about why marriage matters and how the Supreme Court can stand on the Right Side of History in 2013. "This is not a new question: The Supreme Court has acknowledged that there is a freedom to marry. The freedom to marry has been recognized as something that's belonging to all of us in at least 14 Supreme cases."
1:36 p.m. - WATCH: Edie Windsor's Amazing Post-Hearing Press Conference
Check out full video from Edith Windsor's press conference. A beautiful speech that's equal parts heart-warming and heart-breaking. "I know Thea would be very proud of where we are now." She is then followed by statements from her legal team, and then she takes the microphone again at 5:38 to share a wonderful story about the special wedding broach she wears:
1:25 p.m. - 37 Messages to People Who Don't (Yet) Support Marriage
Don't miss this awesome piece from Buzzfeed about 37 great messages for young people who don't yet support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.
12:45 p.m. - Press Conference: Edith Windsor on the Steps of SCOTUS
Audio from Windsor v. United States will be released later this afternoon. Until then, we heard from Edie and her attorneys immediately after they left the Supreme Court. During the press conference, Edie spoke out about what this case means for her emotionally. She said, "People saw that we didn't have horns - people saw that we were their friends or their cousins, and it just grew to where we were human beings like anybody else." She explained the significance of the broach she wears, saying: "In 1967, Thea said, 'What would you do if you were engaged and you wore an engagement ring to work?' And I said, 'People would want to know who is he and where did you meet him?' And so she gave me this broach. This broach of diamonds instead of a wedding ring." (Photo Via Chris Geidner)
12:37 p.m. - VIDEO: Karen Morgan, Widow of CW2 Charlie Morgan, Discusses Pain of DOMA
This year, Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan passed away after battling incurable breast cancer. CW2 Morgan, who has spoken out fervently against DOMA, lived with her wife Karen and their daughter Casey Elena in New Hampshire. Their marriage, however, was not respected because of DOMA, and as a result, Karen and their daughter will not receive many of the essential protections they should receive because of Charlie's service in the U.S. Military. Watch the moving video here, and read more about Charlie and Karen HERE.
12:30 p.m. - Oral Arguments in 'Windsor' End
Oral arguments in Windsor's case have just ended, and Edie Windsor and her attorneys have left the building.
Today's arguments touched on the issues of federalism in the United States - that is, how DOMA disrespects states' decisions to establish the freedom to marry for same-sex couples - and discussed more broadly how DOMA hurts gay and lesbian couples by denying them essential protections and responsibilities of marriage. (Photo by Justin Snow)
12:04 p.m. - GLAD Plaintiffs Support Edie Windsor
Edie Windsor's case may be the DOMA challenge facing the Supreme Court today - but hundreds of thousands of couples across the country, including Bette Jo and Jo Ann, plaintiffs in Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders' own challenge to DOMA, Gill v. Office of Personnel Management!
11:59 a.m. - Discussing the Merits of DOMA and How It Is Unconstitutional
The "legal" standing section of the Court's oral arguments have ended, and the discussion has moved toward why marriage matters and how DOMA hurts.
11:39 a.m. - How DOMA Hurts Military Families
DOMA hurts all families - including gay and lesbian Americans, their spouses, and their families. Major Stephen Snyder-Hill and his husband Joshua Snyder-Hill are just one of the couples affected by DOMA. Learn more about how DOMA hurts military families with Freedom to Serve, Freedom to Marry, our joint campaign with OutServe-SLDN.
11:20 a.m. - Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) Announces Support for Marriage
This morning, Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) became the latest Senator to announce support for the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. She issued a statement: "I know there are strong feelings on both sides, and I have a great deal of respect for their opinions. But after much thought and prayer on my part this is where I am today. I know all our families do not look alike. We all want the same thing for our families. We want happiness, we want health, prosperity, a bright future for our children and grandchildren. After conversations I’ve had with family members, with people I go to church with and with North Carolinians from all walks of life, I’ve come to my own personal conclusion that we should not tell people who they can love, or who they can marry. It’s time to move forward with this issue."
10:50 a.m. - How Ashley and Heather Are Harmed by DOMA
Today, Ashley Broadway from The American Military Partners Association is speaking out in The Washington Post about why marriage matters and how DOMA hurts. The couple from North Carolina, who shared their story with Freedom to Marry earlier this year and made headlines when Ashley was denied membership to a spouse's club at Fort Bragg, lives in North Carolina with their son Carson and newborn child. Ashley told The Post today: "I think that people are really taking a step back and looking at — I know Ashley and Heather, they’re a phenomenal couple, they have two beautiful kids. They’re good Americans. Why can’t they have the same rights and myself and my husband?”
10:30 a.m. - Court Discusses Legal 'Standing' Question
For the next 20 minutes or so, the Court is hearing discussions about legal standing - and whether the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group has legal standing to defend DOMA. That's because in February 2011, President Barack Obama and the Department of Justice said they would no longer be defending DOMA, declaring that the anti-marriage law is unconstitutional. The Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group stepped into defend DOMA shortly after and has been defending the law ever since, including in Windsor v. United States.
10:13 a.m. - How Today's DOMA Arguments Will Run
One hour and 50 minutes of oral arguments are scheduled in today's case. Each litigant - Edith Windsor and her lawyers, Vicki Jackson (Harvard Law professor hired to research whether the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group had legal standing to defend DOMA), and the House of Representatives' Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (the group defending DOMA now that the Department of Justice has declared it believes the law is unconstitutional) - will speak on the standing issue and discuss the merits of Windsor's case. The arguments are about to begin.
10:00 a.m. - New Poll: 64% of New Jersey Residents Support Marriage
A new poll from Quinnipiac demonstrates strong support for the freedom to marry in New Jersey. Sixty-four percent of respondents explained that they support marriage for same-sex couples, with just 30 percent saying they do not. Both houses of the New Jersey legislature voted in favor of a marriage bill in 2012, but the bill was vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie. Now, led by efforts from Garden State Equality, the NJ legislature has until 2014 to win 60 percent of the legislature in favor of marriage to override Gov. Christie's veto.
9:45 a.m. - Watch Live Outside the Supreme Court Building:
It's a somewhat smaller crowd outside of the U.S. Supreme Court today than yesterday's expansive United for Marriage event, but people are continuing to gather outside of the nation's highest Court to show their support for Edith Windsor and for overturning DOMA, which denies federal respect to same-sex couples' legal marriages.
9:15 a.m. - TIMELINE: How DOMA Arrived at the Supreme Court
The Advocate has a great timeline capturing the Defense of Marriage Act's long path to the Supreme Court. Check it out to get a better understanding of all of the cases that have chipped away at the anti-marriage law!
9:04 a.m. - Freedom to Marry is On the Ground at the Supreme Court
Freedom to Marry's National Campaign Director Marc Solomon is sitting in on the Supreme Court hearing this morning with Kate Kendall, Executive Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights. The oral argument will begin in just under an hour.
Don't miss this great interview featuring Freedom to Marry's National Campaign Director about the two days of oral argument hearings before the Supreme Court, on The Bill Press Show.
In just over an hour, the Supreme Court will hear Edith Windsor's lawsuit against DOMA. Do you stand against DOMA? Share this image on Facebook if you support the repeal of DOMA.
- 59% say this statement describes their feelings "very well" or "pretty well" - Denying gays and lesbians the right to marry is considered discrimination.
- 75% believe the freedom to marry is a Constitutional right. This includes 91% of Democrats, 75% of Independents, and 56% of Republicans.
- 81% of young adults ages 18-29, regardless of party affiliation, support the freedom to marry.
7:53 a.m. - 59% of Americans Oppose DOMA
A March 2013 meta-analysis of November 2012 polling data by Joel Benenson and Jan van Lohuizen found that a strong majority of Americans - 59 percent - oppose DOMA, which restricts the federal government from respecting legal marriages between same-sex couples - like the marriage between Kenneth and Ashley, who married in New York and live in Jackson, MS. Here's more recent polling on marriage and DOMA:
- 59% say this statement describes their feelings "very well" or "pretty well" - Denying gays and lesbians the right to marry is considered discrimination.
- 75% believe the freedom to marry is a Constitutional right. This includes 91% of Democrats, 75% of Independents, and 56% of Republicans.
- 81% of young adults ages 18-29, regardless of party affiliation, support the freedom to marry.
7:32 a.m. - A By-The-Numbers Look at Overturning DOMA
- Approximately 112,700 legally married same-sex couples would have their marriages recognized federally if DOMA is overturned.
- 5,600 LGBT active-duty service members, 3,400 National Guard and Reserve members, and 8,000 military retirees could receive medical benefits, protections denied to them under DOMA.
- 36,000 binational same-sex couples could legally petition for immigration benefits for non-American spouses.
6:55 a.m. - How DOMA Hurts Servicemember and Widow Tracy Dice-Johnson
In October, American Military Partners Association member and Army Sgt. Tracy Dice Johnson lost her wife, Army Sgt. Donna R. Johnson, while serving in Afghanistan. The women were legally married, but because of DOMA, the government did not respect their marriage, and as a result, Tracy is shut out of over 1,000 protections afforded to different-sex married couples, including the most basic survivor benefits the military offers: the return of the wedding ring recovered from her wife's body to a monthly indemnity payment. "There are a handful of things you can't tell your heart not to do," Tracy told The Associated Press this week. "One is to serve your country, and the other is not to love who you love." Read Tracy's moving story HERE. (Photo by Navy Times)
6:30 a.m. - DOMA Gets Its Day In Court
Today, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Windsor v. United States, which challenges DOMA, the 1996 law that mandates unequal treatment of legally married same-sex couples, selectively depriving them of the 1,138 protections and responsibilities that marriage triggers at the federal level. Edith Windsor's Supreme Court case, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, deals directly with DOMA's Section 3, which restricts marriage to a union between a man and a woman. Following the death of her late wife Thea Spyer, Windsor was forced to pay $363,000 in estate taxes simply because of DOMA. You can read more about DOMA and Windsor's case HERE.
TUESDAY, MARCH 26
OVERVIEW: Reflections on Today's Oral Arguments in Proposition 8
There's a lot to reflect on about today's historic Supreme Court hearing of Hollingsworth v. Perry. It's exciting to see the freedom to marry face consideration by our nation's highest court. The approach taken by Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, on behalf of Kris & Sandy and Paul & Jeff included a combination of procedural questions and arguments made on the merits of the freedom to marry. His position included technical points related to California's ballot initiative process, whether proponents of Proposition 8 had the standing to bring it to the Court, and interpretations in favor of same-sex couples' constitutional freedom to marry.
It would be unwise to speculate on what the Supreme Court will decide in Hollingsworth v. Perry, or to read too far into the back-and-forth from today's oral arguments. Instead, we must await further instruction from the Court and, in the meantime, continue showing why marriage matters and sharing the moving and powerful stories of same-sex couples and their families. It's clear that several of the judges are wrestling with multiple questions and levels of understanding in the case.
The momentum we have built for marriage and the strategy that has brought us to this exciting moment is the same strategy that will bring us to victory, whether in June or going forward. It's always impossible to predict what the court will do, and in this specific case, with so many different possible directions, it's even more difficult to speculate. But the fact that we've gotten this far is a strong indicator of how far the marriage movement has come in changing people's understanding of why marriage matters, and it shows how successfully the marriage movement has proceeded. As long as we continue our efforts, we have a lot of hope going forward.
Thanks for following along with the Freedom to Marry Live Blog today. This evening, we'll continue to compile some of the coverage from today's events and hearings, and tomorrow, we'll be back first thing going full force on bringing you the latest about Windsor v. United States, the landmark legal challenge to the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. (Photo Via AFER).
5:30 p.m. - Thanks For Following Today, Join Us Again Tomorrow!
Thanks for sticking with us today during the Oral Arguments Live Blog. We'll be back all day tomorrow to take on the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which will finally have its day in Court after 16 long years of hurting same-sex couples and their families. (Photo Via Tie The Knot of the Prop 8 Plaintiffs)
5:15 p.m. - Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) Supports the Freedom to Marry
The energy behind the Supreme Court hearings of Hollingsworth v. Perry and Windsor v. United States have prompted 6 U.S. Senators to voice their support for marriage for same-sex couples. The latest is Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), who told The Washington Blade today, "I believe all people, regardless of sexual orientation, should be guaranteed the full rights to the legal benefits and responsibilities of marriage under the Constitution. I hope the Supreme Court will affirm that principle."
4:00 p.m. - Celebrities Take to Twitter to Support Marriage
Celebrities from all across the country have come together with one message on their social media platforms today: To tell the Supreme Court that it's time for marriage. Many helped amplify the Human Rights' Campaign's mission of turning the Internet red today. Here's a look at just a few of the famous faces speaking out:
- Ben Affleck:I agree. RT @BarackObama: RT if you agree #marriageequality.
- Seth McFarlane: Supreme Court... Now IS the time for a broad ruling to make the leap into the 20th century. -- Sincerely, the 21st.
- Ricky Martin: Supreme Court #SCOTUS #Prop8 #UnitedforMarriage #Time4Marriage #loveconquershate #OneMomAndOneDadIsOK #TwoDadsIsOK #TwoMomsIsOK
- Kristen Bell: Today, the Supreme Court is hearing one of the most important cases in history. Don't sleep on it.
- Evan Rachel Wood: I am seeing lots of red squares on twitter today. Nicely done guys! Spread the word. Change your pic. #equality
- Jesse Tyler Ferguson: SCOTUS: When Steven Spielberg & Tony Kushner make the movie about today you are going to want to be the Tommy Lee Jones not the Lee Pace.
- Alyssa Milano: Changed my profile picture and header in support of marriage equality. Feel free to do the same!
- Dustin Lance Black: Moved to tears several times during arguments today - history has been made.
3:37 p.m. - Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) Announces Support for Marriage
This afternoon, Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) announced his support for the freedom to marry on Facebook, joining four other Democratic Senators - Claire McCaskill (MO), Mark Warner (VA), Mark Begich (AK), and Jay Rockefeller (WV) - who have all announced their support since Sunday in the lead-up to Supreme Court hearings. Sen. Tester wrote on Facebook: "Montanans believe in the right to make a good life for their families. How they define a family should be their business and their business alone. I’m proud to support marriage equality because no one should be able to tell a Montanan or any American who they can love and who they can marry." Check it out here.
12:51 p.m. - Audio and Transcript of Oral Arguments in Prop 8 Case Available Now
The recordings from the Proposition 8 oral arguments are available now. Check them out HERE. We'll be writing about them in the next hour. Stay tuned:
12:47 p.m. - Debate Club: DOMA Helps No One, While Harming Many
The recordings from the Proposition 8 oral arguments should be posted shortly, but in the meantime, check out this great new Debate Club piece from Freedom to Marry founder and president Evan Wolfson. Make sure to vote for him!
12:35 p.m. - President Obama Tweets Support for Marriage
President Obama tweeted his support for the freedom to marry today, just minutes after the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry. Over the past two years, President Barack Obama and his administration have become increasingly vocal advocates for the freedom to marry, beginning with his announcement in February 2011 that the Obama administration believes that DOMA is unconstitutional. In May 2012, he made history by becoming the first sitting president to voice personal support for same-sex couples' freedom to marry. In the fall, he weighed in on four key marriage ballot measures in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington, asking residents there to support marriage for same-sex couples. He has expressed similar support for legislative marriage bills in Rhode Island and his home state of Illinois. And in his inaugural address in January, he called for the freedom to marry for all couples, saying, "Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law - for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well."
12:26 p.m. - Timeline: How Did Prop 8 Get to the Supreme Court?
The Advocate has an awesome interactive timeline tracking how Hollingsworth v. Perry reached the Supreme Court. Relive all of the ups, downs, victories and steps forward on the Prop 8 case HERE.
12:07 p.m. - AFER Officially Submits Hollingsworth v. Perry
The American Foundation for Equal Rights has officially submitted their case to the Supreme Court. A decision is expected by late June. AFER released a statement today on the case, including this quote from lead co-counsel David Boies: "Fourteen times the Supreme Court has stated that the freedom to marry is one of the most fundamental rights—if not the most fundamental right—of all Americans. The denial of the right to marry causes grave harm to gay and lesbian Americans and the children they are raising. It serves no legitimate state interest. As full and equal citizens under our Constitution, gay and lesbian Americans cannot be denied the basic, fundamental freedom to marry." Read their full statement HERE.
11:57 a.m. - Perry Attorneys and Plaintiffs Press Conference Ends
Theodore B. Olson: "This is an issue of American Constitutional rights, and everyoen in this country should agree about the things we've been talking about - we treat our citizens with dignity, with fairness, with equality. This is not a partisan argument - it's about American families."
11:49 a.m. - Perry Plaintiffs Speak After Prop 8 Hearing
The Perry plaintiffs are speaking now outside of the Supreme Court. After each of the plaintiffs spoke, Kris & Sandy's twin children spoke. "On behalf of myself and my twin brother, I just want to say that I am incredibly proud of my parents. We look forward to the day when we can be treated as equal to all other families." WATCH LIVE NOW.
11:46 a.m. - Press Conference on the Steps of the Supreme Court
David Boies, Theodore B. Olson, and the Perry plaintiffs are delivering a press conference outside of the Supreme Court now. "We had a thoughtful hearing," David Boies said. "We appreciate the Court's attention to this issue. It's now in the hands of the Supreme Court. It's been a long journey here over the past three and a half years, and we are all greatly encouraged by the imminent decision. The remarkable thing that happened in there is that there was no attempt to defend the ban of gay and lesbian marriage - all that was discussed in there is whether this should be decided at the state level. But our federal constitution grants fundamental rights to all Americans." Beginning at 1pm, we'll be able to listen in on the oral arguments. Olson added, "There's no denying where the right is, and we hope the Supreme Court will decide that way when they make their decision in June." WATCH LIVE NOW.
11:30 a.m. - Oral Arguments in Prop 8 Case End
The oral arguments in the Proposition 8 case - which could stand to affect hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples across the country, including Amanda and Jen - have just ended. Stay tuned for a dissection of the arguments here and from all of our coalition partners, including the American Foundation for Equal Rights.
11:00 a.m. - Conservative Former Marine Craig Stowell Speaks Out on Marriage
Outside of the U.S. Supreme Court, conservative former Marine Craig Stowell spoke out about why marriage matters. In the past several years, Craig has spoken out fervently about the joys of sharing wedding vows with his wife, and how he wants that for his brother Calvin, who is gay. Read more about Craig, who serves on the Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry leadership committee, HERE.
11:15 a.m. - Terence and Matthew on Anderson Live
Anderson Cooper covered the Proposition 8 trial today on his talk show, and a couple connected with Freedom to Marry, Anderson executive producer Terence Noonan spoke out about why marriage matters. He said: "Being able to go down and get my marriage license with my husband was the greatest thing that's ever happened, ever." Watch the segment HERE.
10:52 a.m. - College Sweethearts Mario & Jason Speak Out Against DOMA
Last night, Mario and Jason - who shared their story and photos from their wedding with Freedom to Marry this year - spoke with ABC about how DOMA hurts them and disrespects their legal marriage. Check out the entire video HERE.
10:48 a.m. - How the Oral Arguments Are Proceeding in Perry Case
News from the oral arguments will be released in the coming hours as the Proposition 8 attorneys David Boies and Theodore Olson finish their arguments, but until then - check out this piece in The L.A. Times about how the oral arguments proceeded.
10:40 a.m. - Brendon Ayanbaedjo Speaks Out for Marriage
Super Bowl champion and Baltimore Raven Brendon Ayanbadejo just spoke outside of the Supreme Court. The vocal advocate said, "We're not going to stop until everyone can marry the person they love. We're not only strengthening the family unit and the communities with marriage equality, we're strengthening America. At the end of the day - love is always going to win the game."
10:30 a.m. - New Poll: Californians Regret Proposition 8
A new SurveyUSA poll, Think Progress reports, demonstrates that Californians regret passing Proposition 8 at the ballot in November 2008. The deserve the legal protections and responsibilities of marriage. Right now, the Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry, where we hope the Court stands on the Right Side of History by overturning Prop 8. This photo is from an event in San Francisco last night of Californians coming together to support marriage.
10:15 a.m. - Sen. Jay Rockefeller Supports the Freedom to Marry
This month, U.S. Senators continue publicly voicing their support for the freedom to marry. Today, West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller announced his support, explaining, "Like so many of my generation, my views on allowing gay couples to marry have been challenged in recent years by a new, more open generation." His announcement follows similiar embraces of the freedom to marry by Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, Virginia Senator Mark Warner, and Alaska Senator Mark Begich.
10:00 a.m. - Oral Arguments Begin!
Just as oral arguments begin in the Proposition 8 case, the space outside of the U.S. Supreme Court has filled up - almost exclusively with supporters of the freedom to marry! As a result, according to United for Marriage, marrige supporters are taking to the Capitol lawn. Since recording devices are not allowed inside the Court room, we won't be able to hear updates on the oral arguments until the Court releases the official recording later today. Until then, we'll continue bringing you updates.
9:46 a.m. - Watch Outside the Supreme Court Live!
NBC News is live-casting video from outside the Supreme Court. Thousands of people from across the country are gathered in our nation's capital to stand on the Right Side of History and urge the Supreme Court that it's #Time4Marriage.
9:32 a.m. - Gail & Audrey Share Their Devotion Through Marriage
Freedom to Marry and the Devotion Project released an online video today featuring Gail Marquis, an Olympian basketball player, and her wife, Audrey Smaltz, a fashion editor, businesswoman, and former model. The video, featured today in an exclusive story by the Grio, is the first in a series of collaborations between Freedom to Marry and the Devotion Project spotlighting the importance of marriage for committed same-sex couples. Check out the video, and read more about The Devotion Project.
9:20 a.m. - Freedom to Marry is On the Ground!
Freedom to Marry staffers are on the ground outside of the Supreme Court - including Federal Director Jo Deutsch, Director of Political Operations Shawn Werner, and Federal Associate Che Ruddel-Tabisola (pictured), plus Communications Director Nicole Collins Bronzan, and Founder and President Evan Wolfson. Check out this photo from Jo, and stay tuned for press hits all day from Evan, National Campaign Director Marc Solomon, and Director of Public Engagement Thalia Zepatos! According to SCOTUS Blog, we should expect to hear the first updates from the oral arguments at 10:40 this morning.
9:10 a.m. - 61% of Californians Support the Freedom to Marry
Remember: A record, super-majority of residents in California support marriage for same-sex couples! That underscores an exciting array of new polling information demonstrating that it really is #Time4Marriage. A poll from last week demonstrated record support for the freedom to marry, plus these landmark numbers:
- 81% of young adults ages 18-29, regardless of political affiliation, support the freedom to marry.
- 72% of Democrats said they support marriage, with just 23% voicing opposition, while 62% of Independents said they are supportive, with only 33% opposed.
- 52% of Republicans and GOP-leaning Independents ages 18-49 said they support the freedom to marry.
- Overall support for marriage has increased by 17 points since 2004, when 41% of respondents said they were supportive.
- Among Republicans of all ages, support has soared since 2004, with numbers increasing 20 points among Republicans ages 50-64 and 16 points among Republicans over the age of 65.
9:03 a.m. - Adorable Proposal Outside of the Supreme Court
Everyone's in the mood to celebrate outside of the United States Supreme Court building - including this great couple, who got engaged earlier this morning!
8:35 a.m. - Military Spouse Casey McLaughlin Stands Up Against DOMA
Buzzfeed's Chris Geidner spotted Casey McLaughlin, lead plaintiff in a legal challenge to DOMA (McLaughlin v. Panetta) outside of the Supreme Court today. Casey and her wife Shannon McLaughlin joined Freedom to Marry and OutServe-SLDN this year in speaking out against the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. They spoke with <em>The Boston Globe</em> earlier this month, with Shannon saying: "I don't want anything extra that others don't have. Just let me provide for my wife like any other person in the military." Read more about Casey and Shannon - and watch a video featuring her and Shannon HERE.
8:28 a.m. - Theodore Olson and David Boies Arrive at Supreme Court
Attorneys Theodore Olson and David Boies have arrived at the U.S. Supreme Court and are ready to begin oral arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry. Thanks to our coalition partner Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders for the photo!
8:15 a.m. - The Times and The Post Urge SCOTUS to Support Marriage
This morning, the editorial boards for the two largest newspapers in the United States published strong editorials calling for the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down Proposition 8 and DOMA. The New York Times' editorial board calls for a "50-State Ruling," saying, "The soundest approach is to recognize same-sex marriage broadly as a matter of equality under the Constitution - and therefore compel all states as well as the federal government to recognize this right." The Washington Post added in an editorial, "Gay rights advocates are winning the argument. American society is changing faster than anyone could have thought possible only a decade ago ... The Supreme Court must play a part in this civil rights triumph - and justices should not shrink from it."
8:00 a.m. - Today, Prop 8 Gets Its Day in Court
For months, marriage advocates have been anxiously awaiting today's oral arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry - including, of course, the plaintiffs and attorneys making the case for marriage: Kris & Sandy, Jeff & Paul, and attorneys David Boies and Theodore Olson. The oral arguments will begin today at 10:00 a.m. EST, and audio from the arguments will be released shortly after. Stay tuned for all of the news.
7:30 a.m. - Proposition 8 Plaintiffs Depart for Supreme Court
This morning, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin, previously with the American Foundation for Equal Rights, posted this photo on Facebook showing his departure for the Supreme Court alongside the Proposition 8 plaintiffs, Kris & Sandy and Jeff & Paul.
7:00 a.m. - Meet 11 California Couples Who Know It's #Time4Marriage
Bill and Scout - here with their daughter Simone - are just one of the many couples in California hoping for the Supreme Court to stand on the Right Side of History in 2013 by listening closely to marriage advocates about how Proposition 8 hurts and why same-sex couples nationwide need the freedom to marry. Check out photos and stories from 10 other California couples who want to marry in their home state!
6:00 a.m. - Show Your Pride on Facebook
Let your friends and family members know that you think It's Time for marriage nationwide and for DOMA to be overturned by sharing these new graphics on Facebook. Then read the stories of the couples in the photos - Tony & Kevin and Corrie & Jennifer.
12:00 a.m. - Alaska Senator Mark Begich Supports Marriage
Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) sounds off on why he supports the freedom to marry for same-sex couples just hours after similar announcements from Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO). He issued this statement on his support for marriage: "I believe that same sex couples should be able to marry and should have the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as any other married couple. Government should keep out of individuals' personal lives—if someone wants to marry someone they love, they should be able to. Alaskans are fed up with government intrusion into our private lives, our daily business, and in the way we manage our resources and economy." Buzzfeed has more.
MONDAY, MARCH 25
9:30 p.m. - WATCH: Jamelle & Karane Fight DOMA While Serving Country
A news story this weekend on CNN Newsroom checked in with Jamelle and Karane Thomas-Williams, who married on October 11, 2012 in Washington, D.C. The couple shared their story of why marriage matters and how DOMA hurts. Jamelle, who serves in the U.S. military, is not able to share her military health care and other benefits with her wife, and overall, the anti-gay law leaves them feeling insecure and unprotected. Jamelle and Karane shared their story - and a dozen beautiful photos from their wedding - earlier this year on our blog. Check out more about Jamelle and Karane HERE.
9:00 p.m. - NFL Veteran Scott Fujita Reiterates Support for Marriage
On Sunday, NFL Veteran and Athlete Ally ambassador Scott Fujita penned an editorial for The New York Times reiterating the importance of professional athletes speaking out for marriage for same-sex couples. He said: "Recently, I heard someone say: 'You can legislate tolerance, but you can’t legislate acceptance. That takes a societal shift.' Such transformation requires more than just common sense. It takes love, understanding and time. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on California’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage. I agree with the lower courts that said Proposition 8 violated the constitutional rights of gay men and women without any evidence-based rationale for doing so, and I, along with other professional athletes, signed my name to a brief sent to the court stressing the importance of marriage equality. Now the Supreme Court — like a referee in a football game — has the opportunity to simply enforce the rules as written. And I’m confident the justices will."
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