As the US Supreme Court is inside listening to oral arguments in cases challenging the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8, activists plan to be outside making a statement in the court of public opinion.
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, United for Marriage and a coalition of other LGBT grassroots organizations, will rally outside the court in Washington DC on 26 and 27 March, the days oral arguments in the cases will be given.
‘Gay and lesbian couples want to marry for similar reasons as anyone else and should be able to make a vow of love and lifetime commitment to one another,’ GLAAD states. ‘Marrying the person you love is a fundamental freedom, and a matter of basic fairness.’
There will be organized pro-marriage events each day on the steps of the Supreme Court staring with a vigil on 25 March. A full list can be found at GLAAD.org.
GLAAD and United for Marriage are also encouraging those who cannot make it to Washington DC to organize events locally and register them at United for Marriage to get help with various resources.
The justices will consider whether Proposition 8 violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. The ballot initiative banning gay marriage in California was passed by voters in the state in November 2008.
As for DOMA, federal appeals courts in New York and Boston had ruled that the law is unconstitutional – rulings appealed to the Supreme Court by the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives.
The justices have agreed to hear the New York case which was filed by Edith Windsor who sued because she was required to pay a $350,000 federal estate tax bill. The government does not recognize her marriage to her late wife Thea Spyer.
DOMA prevents the US government from recognizing same-sex marriages even in states where such marriages are legal so couples cannot file joint federal tax returns or receive survivor benefits if one spouse dies. It was passed by both houses of Congress by wide margins in 1996 and signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton who is now urging its repeal.