Obergefell v. Hodges Decision Overturns All State Bans on Marriage
Nevada – With today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, all Americans are free to marry the person they love. Discriminatory state marriage definitions are struck down and marriage equality is now the law of the land.
“Every American can now marry the person they love. Same-sex couples can marry freely without the fear of government bans, and discriminatory, unconstitutional definitions that sought to define their lives and love,” said Tod Story, executive director, ACLU of Nevada. “This historic decision finds that the Constitution grants ‘equal dignity in the eyes of the law,’ for same-sex couples. Today we celebrate the love and lives of the LGBT community and their allies who fought to make this day a reality.”
The ACLU is counsel in the Ohio and Kentucky cases.
In the Ohio cases, the ACLU is co-counsel with the law firm of Gerhardstein & Branch and Lambda Legal in Obergefell v. Hodges and Henry v. Hodges. Both cases seek recognition of existing marriages.
In the Kentucky cases, the ACLU is co-counsel with Clay, Daniel, Walton & Adams, PLC, the Fauver Law Office and the Stanford Supreme Court Litigation Clinic in Bourke v. Beshear and Love v. Beshear. In Bourke, the petitioner couples seek recognition of existing marriages and in Love, the petitioner couples seek the freedom to marry in Kentucky.
As the Court prepares to consider these questions, there are now 36 states and the District of Columbia that allow same-sex couples to marry. This means that 71% percent of the U.S. population currently lives in a state where marriage equality is the law of the land.
The ACLU has been working for the rights of LGBT people since 1936, when it brought its first gay rights case. The organization also filed the first freedom-to-marry lawsuit for same-sex couples in 1970, represented Edie Windsor in her successful challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act in June 2013, and has filed sixteen federal court marriage lawsuits on behalf of same-sex couples since the Windsor decision.
On October 9, 2014, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that Nevada’s marriage laws and definition were discriminatory and violated the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause because they “deny lesbians and gays who wish to marry persons of the same sex a right they afford to individuals who wish to marry persons of the opposite sex.”
The ACLUNV filed an amicus brief in the Nevada case on October 25, 2013. The case, Sevcik v. Sandoval, was filed by Lambda Legal and challenged Nevada’s restriction of marriage to different-sex couples, which was added to the state’s constitution in 2002. In its amicus brief, the ACLU of Nevada argues that Nevada’s ban against same-sex marriage should be struck down because the “exclusion burdens the fundamental right to marry.” (http://aclunv.org/files/aclunv-amicus-nv-marriage-ban2.pdf )
The ACLU of Nevada is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization committed to the defense and advancement of civil liberties and civil rights for all people in Nevada.