New York/San Francisco • 28 February 2013 ― Marriage Equality USA announces today that it has filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court that brings the real life experiences and love stories of same-sex couples and their families before the justices.
The brief uniquely highlights the personal voices of LGBT Americans as they express in their own words why the Constitution’s guarantees of liberty and equality should extend to them and include the essential freedom to marry the person they love. The brief tells both the joys of same-sex couples who have been able to marry and the frustrations of those who are denied that freedom, thereby showing the real effects this case has on real people.
Jeff Tabaco and Thom Watson of Daly City, California, together for 10 years but denied the freedom to marry in California because of Proposition 8, are one of the couples who tell their story in the brief. Thom speaks of meeting Jeff, the man he hopes to marry: “We grew up on opposite coasts, but it feels like we were separated at birth. We often find ourselves saying the same thing at exactly the same time and like old married couples we constantly finish each other’s sentences. We began to realize that we wanted to take the next step in our relationship: to marry and make a public commitment in front of our friends and family and celebrate our mutual love and respect. But we couldn’t, because of Proposition 8. And that hurts us both very deeply.”
Diana Travis and MaryAnn Mueller of Charlotte, North Carolina, together for 25 years but prohibited from marrying by North Carolina law, are another couple featured in the brief. They speak to how same-sex couples, just like other loving, committed couples, should have the freedom to marry in every state in the nation. As Diana and Mary Ann put it: “Marriage means the commitment to stick with things through thick and thin. We share everything, both the good and the hard. We enjoy life, reflect on life, and are present for life – together. We want to be able to be married in North Carolina. This is our home. We want recognition and validity here, as well as federally.”
“We want to make sure that the Court understands that this case will have a direct and profound impact on their lives of millions of LGBT Americans,” said MEUSA Legal Director John Lewis, one of the brief’s authors. The brief concludes: “This case is ultimately about our common humanity – our common instinct to love and to have kin – and what should be our common freedom under the United States Constitution to marry the person we love.”
Brian Silva, MEUSA Executive Director, stated: “The road to equality under the law has led us inevitably to the U.S. Supreme Court this year. It is more important than ever that the Justices hear our community’s experiences of love, commitment, and the need for marriage equality.”
The Court will hear oral argument in the Prop. 8 case on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 and in the DOMA case on Wednesday, March 27, 2013. The Court likely will issue decisions in the cases by the end of June 2013. MEUSA will have audio and written transcripts of the oral arguments posted on its website as soon as they have been released by the Court.