For Immediate Release
It’s Official: The Supreme Court Will Review the Freedom to Marry in 2015!
WASHINGTON - Today, January 16, the United States Supreme Court announced that this year, they will hear arguments in a case on the question of whether same-sex couples should have the freedom to marry and if anti-marriage laws nationwide should be struck down as unconstitutional. The Court granted review of an out-of-step ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, which ruled in November against the freedom to marry in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. In each of these cases, federal judges had ruled in favor of the freedom to marry for all, and the 6th Circuit reversed each decision.
The Court also set a briefing schedule in the cases, with the plaintiffs' opening brief due February 27, the states' response briefs due March 27, and final reply briefs April 17. That likely puts an oral argument in the case on track for late April, with a decision expected by late June 2015.
Freedom to Marry founder and president Evan Wolfson applauded the Supreme Court's decision to hear the cases today. He said:
The Supreme Court's decision today begins what we hope will be the last chapter in our campaign to win marriage nationwide - and it's time. Freedom to Marry's national strategy has been to build a critical mass of marriage states and critical mass of support for ending marriage discrimination, and after a long journey and much debate, America is ready for the freedom to marry. But couples are still discriminated against in 14 states, and the patchwork of discrimination harms families and businesses throughout the country. We will keep working hard to underscore the urgency of the Supreme Court's bringing the country to national resolution, so that by June, all Americans share in the freedom to marry and our country stands on the right side of history.
Earlier this year, in October, the Supreme Court denied review in five other marriage cases, which all had pro-marriage decisions from federal appellate courts. With the 6th Circuit’s out-of-step ruling causing a split in the circuits, the Supreme Court’s decision to grant review today could at last bring the country to national resolution.
Since June 2013, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the core of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, a momentous chorus of nearly 60 rulings in state and federal court have held that denying the freedom to marry to same-sex couples is unconstitutional. Read all about the rulings here. In just five decisions – the 6th Circuit ruling, federal decisions from Louisiana and Puerto Rico, and state court divorce cases from Tennessee and Florida – have anti-marriage laws been upheld.
Today’s decision from the U.S. Supreme Court is a signal that many members of the Court understand that it's time for national resolution on this fundamental question of fairness.
In the coming months, supporters of the freedom to marry must continue to raise their voices in support of ending the denial of marriage to same-sex couples. By amplifying the voices of a bipartisan, multigenerational, geographically diverse array of messengers, we can make the case that America - all of America - is ready for the freedom to marry, and that every day of denial is a day of indignity and injustice for real American families. Learn more about the tangible harms of denying the freedom to marry to same-sex couples here.
You can leave your mark on this crucial moment for the freedom to marry by donating to Freedom to Marry HERE.
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Freedom to Marry is the gay and non-gay partnership working to win marriage equality nationwide. Headed by Evan Wolfson, one of America's leading civil rights advocates and lawyers, Freedom to Marry brings new resources and a renewed context of urgency and opportunity to this social justice movement.