Get News & Views Updates
The press releases posted here have been submitted by
For further information or to comment on this press release, please contact the organization directly.
Most Popular This Week
Today's Top News
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Center for Constitutional Rights
CCR Statement on Prop 8 and SCOTUS Decision on Questioning Defendants Without Lawyers Present
WASHINGTON - May 28 - In response to both the California Supreme Court ruling supporting Proposition 8, the anti-gay marriage ballot initiative, and the United States Supreme Court ruling overturning the ban on police initiating questioning without the defendant's lawyer present, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) released the following statement:
May 26, 2009 saw two important court decisions that each set back the cause of human rights and civil liberties by decades. The Center for Constitutional Rights expresses its profound disappointment in Tuesday's ruling by the California State Supreme Court on Proposition 8, the anti-gay marriage ballot initiative. While we are pleased that the court ruled in favor of the 18,000 gay marriages that occurred before the ballot initiative passed, the fact that the court upheld Prop 8 is a travesty of justice that invalidates the inherit dignity and human rights deserved by any loving family unit.
On the same day, there was another decision, this time by the United States Supreme Court, in which the high court struck a blow to defendants' rights and made it far easier for prosecutors to interrogate suspects who have not received proper legal counsel. In a 5-4 ruling, the Court overturned the 1986 ruling in Michigan v. Jackson that forbid police from initiating questioning of a defendant who already has a lawyer or who has requested one unless the attorney is present. This ruling is significant to all Americans, and, in some ways, is particularly relevant to the LGBTQ community.
We understand that the gay marriage debate has been used by conservatives to polarize the country and achieve political power, and that marriage equality and LGBT organizations and civil liberties groups had to fight back against their rhetoric. However, CCR recognizes that the marriage issue is not limited to just gay and lesbian couples, but that it also affects people who are bisexual, transgendered, and queer, and that their stories must also be shared and covered by the media, and considered by the law.
We also recognize that once justice prevails and the gay marriage debate is over, there will remain a need to recognize and provide fundamental human rights, namely social and economic rights such as health care, Social Security, welfare assistance, and housing granted by the institution of marriage, to other non-nuclear family structures - families that are equally deserving of inherent dignity and recognition, such as single parent households or Senior citizens living together and serving as one another's caregivers, without regard to blood ties, kinship or conjugal status. The progressive community must work to ensure the separation of church and state in all matters, including the regulation of individuals' sexual identities, activities, expressions, and gender choices.
Within the current framework, it is middle and upper class gay and lesbian couples that will reap the most from the benefits extended by marriage. We must not rest at those future victories, but strive to ensure that those most marginalized by society have the same rights as all people.
The modern LGBTQ movement was started by poor and working class drag queens, transgendered people, and people of color who fought back against police raids at Stonewall and elsewhere. CCR recognizes that tst targeted and harassed by the police.
It is these same communities that have now lost an added protection when they are brought into police custody. The Supreme Court's ruling on suspects' and defendants' rights and the further erosion of our civil liberties is most likely to be felt by those on the margins of our society. So, as we mourn the decision in California and renew our efforts to overthrow Prop 8, we must keep in mind that it is not only important to fight for marriage rights for all, but to remember our duty to ensure social, economic and legal justice for all.