The Equal Justice Society applauds today’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that states cannot ban marriage for same-sex couples. Below is text of an announcement from the National Center for Lesbian Rights. NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell was immediate past Chair of our EJS Board of Directors.
In a historic decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states laws that ban marriage for same-sex couples are unconstitutional. The decision overturns a November 2014 Sixth Circuit Court ruling that upheld marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee.
The 5-4 ruling strikes down laws in 13 states and Puerto Rico and requires all 50 states to allow same-sex couples to marry.
The Tennessee plaintiffs are Dr. Valeria Tanco and Dr. Sophy Jesty; Army Reserve Sergeant First Class Ijpe DeKoe and Thom Kostura; and Matthew Mansell and Johno Espejo. They are represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Tennessee attorneys Abby Rubenfeld, Maureen Holland, and Regina Lambert, William Harbison and other attorneys from the Nashville law firm of Sherrard & Roe PLC, and Douglas Hallward-Driemeier and other attorneys from the law firm of Ropes & Gray LLP. Hallward-Driemeier and GLAD’s Mary Bonauto argued on behalf of the plaintiffs before the Court on April 28, 2015.
“We are overjoyed and grateful to the Supreme Court for finally putting an end to these damaging laws that have hurt so many families in Tennessee and across the country,” said Tanco, who has a 1-year old daughter with Jesty. “We are grateful to every single member of our legal team, who have worked tirelessly to take down these discriminatory laws and finally bring the freedom to marry to the LGBT community. We would also like to thank our family, friends, and neighbors in Tennessee for all their support in this amazing and historic journey.”
Said NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter, Esq.: “In resounding terms that will echo through history, our nation’s highest court has affirmed the common dignity and humanity of same-sex couples. For all people in this country, including millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans, today is a day to celebrate. By recognizing that the U.S. Constitution guarantees all Americans the freedom to marry and form a family with the person with whom they have chosen to share their life, the Court has brought us one monumental step closer to a nation in which everyone can live openly and authentically, without fear, harassment, or discrimination. We are grateful to the courageous couples who brought their case before the Court, and to generations of LGBT activists, leaders, and community members who worked tirelessly for decades to make this day possible.”