Tuesday and Wednesday this week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on two landmark marriage equality cases. One will decide the fate of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act,” and the other will rule on California’s Proposition 8. In response, the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s Chief of Staff Darrel Cummings issued the following statement:
“No one knows how the majority of the U.S. Supreme Court will rule after hearing oral arguments in the marriage equality cases they’ll be reviewing today and tomorrow. There are more theories than are Justices, and the options range from a sweeping majority opinion that strikes down Prop 8 and DOMA as unconstitutional to one that could be very harmful to our long-term fight for full equality.
Of course, we won’t know before June, but what we know now is that as arguments are being made over the next two days, we’ve reached another historic milestone in our quest for equality and justice. Polls show 58% of Americans support our freedom to marry and there’s a national conversation about marriage equality that was unimaginable when I became an activist in the early ’80s.
Recent milestones have been plenty. In just the last year we witnessed a sitting president’s evolution in support of marriage equality. Former President Clinton, who signed DOMA into law, endorsed its repeal. And former Secretary of State—and likely 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton—publicly endorsed full marriage rights for same-sex couples. Major corporations and powerful Republicans filed briefs to the Supreme Court to support our freedom to marry. Even a Republican Senator from Ohio, Sen. Rob Portman, has now endorsed marriage equality.
These milestones aren’t solely related, or in response, to the cases before the Supreme Court this week. They are the result of decades and decades of courage and commitment by LGBT activists. The fact that nine people will argue and decide whether the Constitution applies to us, and that a majority of voters in any state can deny us our rights, are stark reminders that there is more to be done.
Until the day comes that our full equality is no longer the subject of legal and political debates—whether in the courts, at the ballot box or from the pulpit—we should take this moment to celebrate our achievements, those of our predecessors and the historical nature of these court cases. But we must also keep fighting until the topic of whether LGBT people deserve full equality under the constitution is no longer considered to be a legitimate debate.”
About the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center
For more than 40 years, the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center has been building the health, advocating for the rights and enriching the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Our wide array of services and programs includes: free HIV/AIDS care and medications for those most in need; housing, food, clothing and support for homeless LGBT youth; low-cost counseling and addiction-recovery services; essential services for LGBT-parented families and seniors; legal services; health education and HIV prevention programs; transgender services; cultural arts and much more. Visit us on the web at: lagaycenter.org.
SOURCE L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center