The End Game Is Here for Marriage Equality

This is it – the end game in the longstanding campaign to win the freedom to marry for same-sex couples nationwide is upon us. The U.S. Supreme Court has just announced it will hear freedom-to-marry cases in all four states in the Sixth Circuit- Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Michigan. We're thrilled to be co-counsel in the Kentucky and Ohio cases.

With today's SCOTUS announcement we are entering what we hope will be the last phase of a journey towards greater dignity and equality for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people that started decades ago and has accelerated at a truly astounding rate over the last year and a half. A win before the high court would be a watershed moment for the LGBT rights movement.

It's clear from a few simple facts that the country is ready for the freedom to marry nationwide:

  • 36 states now allow same-sex couples to marry
  • 71 percent of the U.S. population lives in a freedom-to-marry state
  • 59 percent of Americans support marriage equality

Adding the remaining 29 percent of the population to the marriage column, while momentous for LGBT equality, would not impose sweeping new change on the country. If South Carolina, Utah, Florida, and Oklahoma are all marriage states, then surely Texas and South Dakota can handle it, too.

It's also evident why marriage is so important. Marriage makes clear that both the state and society value and protect a relationship. Same-sex couples have been making the commitment at the heart of marriage for decades, but they have been treated as legal strangers by state after state and told that their relationships are less worthy.

Plus, showing the country all the same-sex couples who want to marry –and who do marry – has helped people understand that gay people's relationships are built around love, often are long-term, and increasingly involve raising children who thrive. All of those realities, which gay people find unremarkable, help the rest of America overcome the anti-gay stereotypes that they grew up with.

Finally, it's clear how we've gotten to this moment of such promise – through decades of concerted effort by LGBT people and allies all across America. The ACLU is proud to have been part of getting us here. We brought the first lawsuit in the country seeking the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in 1970. Over the years since then, we have worked in courts, legislatures, and in ballot campaigns to win marriage equality all across the country. We represented Edie Windsor in her landmark case taking down the core of the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013 and have filed 17 marriage cases since then, covering every region of the country.

What's not clear – yet – is just how the end game, well, ends. We'll know that come summer, but we do already know several things: That if we win, the country can handle it. That if we lose, we will still change the remaining anti-gay laws by going back to the ballot. And that we can never stop working to change the culture in America so that it understands and embraces LGBT people in all of our wonderful diversity.

Marriage will help us do that, so we welcome the end game – bring it!

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chrispy

Sorry, but its "AN historic moment". Couldn't help it. (Also, it is one).

Anonymous

It's definitely 'a' historic. Only 'an' in instances like 'an hour' or 'an honest' where the word beginning in h sounds like a vowel but is spelled with a consonant.

CINDY CASTILLO

OH AM I PISSED!! Supreme Court just ruled in favor of gay marriage as EQUALITY for ALL AMERICANS in all 50 states. Obama on live TV announced that ALL AMERICANS ARE EQUAL and this ruling proves that. Well BULLSHIT!! What about the Vietnam Veterans, where is the EQUALITY FOR EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM, especially those exposed to Agent Orange and their families??? THERE IS NOT EQUALITY!! If you don't believe me research yourself. Go to Congress.gov and pull H.R 4488, titled "Women Vietnam Veterans' Children's Birth Defects Benefits Act." Under the legislation, female VN veterans who served in VN and had children with a list of 19 birth defects are provided vocational training, free medical care and compensation (based on severity of disability). This is good, I am not arguing that it isn't or they are not entitled to these benefits. BUT I AM OUTRAGED THAT THE VIETNAM MALE VETERANS and their CHILDREN are not included, protected or covered under the SAME LEGISLATION. The children and grandchildren for MALE VN VETERANS are only covered with benefits for ONE BIRTH DEFECT - SPINA BIFIDA. WHERE IS THE EQUALITY FOR ALL AMERICANS??? IT IS NOT THERE.
Those who know my life story may understand my outrage better than those reading this post without that knowledge. To sum it: Tom Franks, my sons' father served in Vietnam as a fire patrol on the rivers of Nam and was exposed to Agent Orange daily. Jeffrey, our second son was born with multiple birth defects (11 of them are on the list for female VN Veterans). Jeffrey passed away in 2000 at age 25; he was like a very young toddler his entire life. I applied and kept applying for benefits for him, denied each time. I continue to appeal based on 2 recent cases awarded for the children of male VN Veterans. In neither case did the child have spina bifida; BUT they were diagnosed with a neural tube defect. Spina bifida IS a neural tube defect. Tom's AO exposure not only affected Jeffrey, but also Mike and Joe, our other 2 sons. Their spouses and them have had multiple miscarriages and each have a daughter buried with Jeffrey. Jeffrey, Amanda Jo and Meadow Layne had the same facial features and birth defects; some at different levels, but still the same. ALSO, their birth defects are listed on the list for female VN veterans.
SO, if you are reading this, you may be scratching your head and wondering, "What the hell does H.R. 4488 have to do with gay marriage? For certain neither Tom or Cindy are gay nor are their children? THAT IS TRUE!! The similarity is Obama's words and the Supreme Court ruling that legalizing Gay(LBGT) marriages proves that today, American lawmakers and Supreme Court rulings PROVE that ALL AMERICANS ARE CREATED EQUAL!!! BULLSHIT, BULLSHIT and BULLSHIT!! IF that was true then ALL VIETNAM VETERANS EXPOSED TO AGENT ORANGE and their FAMILIES WOULD HAVE THE SAME RIGHTS TO BENEFITS!! This not only affects the Vietnam Veterans, but all Veterans who serve our AMERICA so ALL AMERICANS can live in a safer country with the FREEDOMS we take for granted. YES, THE VETERANS go to war when needed, leave their families and home to serve OUR COUNTRY and protect our freedoms; YET, WHERE ARE THEIR RIGHTS, EQUALITY and PROTECTIONS and those for their families??
I am a Christian and believe God's words, "the state of being lawfully united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife"(Womans's Study Bible Concordance).I am not ignorant to think that our legislation and lawmakers believe or trust in God's words; however, to change legislation that breaches the Holy Bible to satisfy some Americans but IGNORE the EQUALITY and RIGHTS of AMERICA'S VETERANS is appalling and outrageous. I have contacted the VFW and awaiting a response on how I can set into action a Supreme Court suit stating H.R. 4488 and Unite States Code Title 38 is unconstitutional and discriminates against male VN Veterans, their spouses and children. I also called several attorney firms who claim to "protect the rights of Veterans"; none of these law firms want to take a class action suit against legislation. They reserve their fight to assist Veterans for disability claims, so they can take 33% of the benefits.
MY FIGHT IS NOT OVER AND I WILL CONTINUE THIS FIGHT TILL MY LAST BREATH. Not for personal gain BUT for the EQUALITY FOR ALL VETERANS and their FAMILIES.
GOD BLESS AMERICA and OUR VETERANS, past, present, future, alive and deceased.

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