Achieving LGBT Equality Through Litigation, Legislation, Policy, and Public Education

Views & Analysis

June 26, 2014

A Landmark Decision and an Incredible Year for Marriage

DOMA_OneYearA year ago today, we celebrated a major tipping point in the movement for LGBT equality—a watershed United States Supreme Court decision that continues to impact the lives of same-sex couples across the country.

The Supreme Court’s decision on June 26, 2013 striking down the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which barred the federal government from recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples, set off a legal tidal wave unlike anything we have seen before.

Inspired by Justice Kennedy’s stirring decision—the first recognition ever by the Supreme Court that our families are just like other families and deserve the same respect—couples across the country flooded the courts with new cases seeking the freedom to marry.

Since then, every court that has considered the issue has ruled in favor of the freedom to marry. Today, same sex-couples can get married in 19 states, at least 8 tribal nations, and the District of Columbia.

There are now more than 70 marriage cases pending in federal and state courts nationwide, and we at NCLR are doing our part. Just yesterday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit issued a landmark ruling in our Utah marriage equality case that found Utah’s freedom to marry ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process. This historic ruling is the first federal appellate court ruling since the Supreme Court’s DOMA decision—and the first ever to hold that same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry.

We are also representing couples in marriage cases in Florida, Idaho, and Wyoming. Earlier this year, we won an important ruling in Tennessee (now on appeal) that the state must recognize the marriages of couples who married in other states.
Together with our colleagues at the ACLU, we won the freedom to marry in the New Mexico Supreme Court in December 2013, enabling our clients Jen Roper and Angelique Neuman to legally marry before Jen passed away from brain cancer.

It’s only a matter of time before a marriage case reaches the Supreme Court.  No matter what, NCLR will be there again.  We will urge the Court to recognize that the equal respect it spoke about so powerfully a year ago means that all couples, in every state, deserve the freedom to marry.
We’re committed to stay in this fight until every couple across the country has the freedom to marry.

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