April 13, 2017
In North Carolina this week, anti-LGBTQ extremists tried to do the unthinkable. They introduced House Bill 780, also known as the “Uphold Historical Marriage Act” in an attempt to turn back the clock and, once again, whip up anti-LGBTQ sentiment. The bill directly challenges the Supreme Court’s 2015 marriage equality ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges by seeking to nullify same-sex couples’ marriages.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper weighed in yesterday: “This bill is wrong. We need more LGBT protections, not fewer.” And Republican House Speaker Tim Moore noted that he intends for this bill never to see the light of day, that it will not be debated. And it will not be voted on.
But before these elected leaders took a stand, when news of this proposed legislation was first being broadly covered by media, NCLR received questions from LGBTQ people both inside and outside North Carolina about what to expect and whether states have the ability to undermine Obergefell. In the midst of an administration that has stirred so much conflict and division, and has taken steps to rollback protections for LGBTQ people, we understand these concerns. And we are committed to continuing to take a stand for you and your families. Here’s a link to a helpful legal analysis about the future of Obergefell written by my friend and colleague at NCLR Shannon Price Minter that we shared after the 2016 election: “Now That Trump Has Been Elected, Can Our Marriage Be Undone?”
Since 1977, the National Center for Lesbian Rights has fought to protect and strengthen the rights of LGBTQ families. And that commitment was never clearer than in our work as a key part of the legal team that secured marriage equality. And in our work every day to protect those rights despite extremist factions that seek to undermine and chip away at these protections.
Please continue to stand with us in our work to oppose legislation across the country that seeks to undermine Obergefell. Although this Supreme Court case is settled law, some state officials falsely state that Obergefell does not require states to treat married same-sex couples equally and are attempting to pass laws in support of that notion. Last month, NCLR filed a petition for writ of certiorari, an official request that a case be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court, on a recent Arkansas Supreme Court decision holding that Obergefell does not require states to treat same-sex parents equally with regard to the issuance of birth certificates for their children. We also recently filed a brief in the Texas Supreme Court, opposing arguments by Texas state officials that Obergefell does not require governments to pay equal employment benefits to same-sex spouses.
At NCLR, we know that we must remain vigilant. Our courts matter, and the judges appointed to preside over those courts matter too. (Read our recent piece in The Advocate, “7th Circuit Victory for Lesbian Worker Shows Why Judges Matter.”) That’s why NCLR’s Washington, D.C. office is on the ground every day educating Congressional staffers, working with other national leaders to fight for a fair and objective Supreme Court, and making sure that your concerns are being heard at the highest levels.
We’re here for you.
If you have legal questions or hear about anything similar happening in your state, call the NCLR Helpline at 1.800.528.6257.