Out for Freedom

Out for Freedom

UPDATE (12/9/14) Religious freedom is a fundamental American value that we cherish, and work hard to defend. However, as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people gain greater equality under the law, we are seeing a troubling push to allow anyone, including businesses, to use their religious beliefs to discriminate.

As the number of states with marriage equality increases across the country, we’ve begun to see an increase in calls to allow government officials and business owners to discriminate against same-sex couples. We saw efforts to pass a bill that could have allowed such discrimination in Arizona last year, and we’re seeing it again in Michigan right now.

These demands to allow religion to be used to discriminate are a direct response to gains in equality for gay people and would relegate same-sex couples to second-class status and enshrine discrimination in the law.

The ACLU is at the forefront in making sure that businesses that are open to the public should be open to everyone on the same terms. We are therefore expanding the focus of Out4Freedom to include fighting anti-gay religious refusals bills and promoting non-discrimination. Nobody should be turned away from a business, refused service by government officials, or evicted from their home, just because of who they are.

We face an unprecedented opportunity to achieve the freedom to marry for same-sex couples throughout the country. The ACLU's historic 2013 Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is paving the way for equality for lesbian and gay couples across America, but for a full civil liberties victory we need to strike down barriers to the freedom to marry in states across the country.

While we celebrate all of the progress we've been making on marriage, individual states still have anti-gay, anti-marriage laws. In fact these discriminatory barriers are still embedded in 28 state constitutions.

With increased legislative advocacy and grassroots organizing to repeal existing marriage amendments, as well as aggressive litigation across the country, we can decisively win fair marriage laws and relegate discrimination against gay and lesbian couples to the dustbin of history.

Here's how we'll do it:

Improve the map: We know we can transform the current "marriage map." Since the Supreme Court's decisions on DOMA and Prop 8 in June 2013, we have helped bring the freedom to marry to six new states (Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania), through state legislation, state court litigation, and recently federal court litigation. That means that now a total of 19 states plus the District of Columbia allow same-sex couples the freedom to marry and 44% of the U.S. population lives in a marriage state. The ACLU is working toward ensuring that a majority of the country lives in freedom to marry states by the time the Supreme Court takes another marriage case.
Broaden public support: When it comes to marriage for same-sex couples, our country has been on an incredible journey. Today, a strong majority of Americans support allowing same-sex couples to marry, and as we continue to have these conversations, we know that more and more Americans will embrace the direction of fairness that our nation is moving in. Many Republicans and conservatives want to stand on the right side of history, and help create a meaningful legacy of fairness. The ACLU is working with supporters across the political spectrum to continue expanding the groundswell of support for full marriage equality.
The federal solution: We know that the constitutionality of state laws that exclude same-sex couples from marriage will come before the Supreme Court again sometime soon, likely by June 2015. We are working both to lay the foundation for a good Supreme Court ruling (making that map better and building public support will sure help!) and to shape the cases that present the constitutional issue to the Court. In fact, we now have marriage cases pending against 13 states, including five before federal appeals courts.

Click here to see all of the ACLU's Freedom to Marry cases.

Click here for more detailed information all same-sex marriage cases currently pending throughout the country.

Together we can transform our country's landscape until the freedom to marry is in every state. Join us to come out for freedom!


Same-Sex Relationship Recognition Map

The landscape for the freedom to marry is rapidly changing. See more on the progress in the states. Check out the map »


The End Game Is Here for Marriage Equality

The Freedom to Marry Reaches the SUPREME COURT: The U.S. Supreme Court will hear marriage equality cases from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee soon.

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...
Read more »

Read more Out for Freedom blogs!


New Anti-Gay Religious Refusals Discrimination Bills - December 2014

A fact sheet that explains three types of bills we are seeing proposed to allow people to use their religious beliefs to discriminate. (2014 Resources)

After DOMA: What It Means For You

LGBT Organizations Fact Sheet Series details many of the ways federal agencies accord legal respect to married same-sex couples. (2013 Resources)

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