LGBT Rights Press Release

01.16.15

Supreme Court Will Hear Four Cases Challenging Ban on Marriage for Same-Sex Couples, Including Ohio’s

CLEVELAND—The U.S. Supreme Court granted review of a federal appeals court ruling that upheld bans in four states on the freedom to marry and recognition of marriages of same-sex couples legally performed in other states. The Court granted review of petitions from all four states – Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. Today’s announcement sets the stage for final resolution of the debate about marriage equality for same-sex couples nationwide.

Read the Sixth Circuit’s decision of November 6, 2014

Read the petition asking for Supreme Court review

Read the Petitioners’ Brief filed February 27, 2015

Read the Petitioners’ Reply Brief filed April 17, 2015

The American Civil Liberties Union along with Lambda Legal and Gerhardstein & Branch are co-counsel in the Ohio case, Obergefell, et al v. Hodges. The ACLU and Stanford Law School Supreme Court Litigation Clinic are co-counsel in the two Kentucky cases, Bourke v. Beshear and Love v. Beshear, brought by lawyers at Clay Daniel Walton & Adams and the Fauver Law Office. These cases challenge Kentucky’s anti-marriage laws on the ground that they violate due process and equal protection provisions of the U.S. Constitution.

“We are thrilled the court will finally decide this issue,” said James Esseks, director of the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & HIV Project. “The country is ready for a national solution that treats lesbian and gay couples fairly. Every single day we wait means more people die before they have a chance to marry, more children are born without proper protections, more people face medical emergencies without being able to count on recognition of their spouses. It is time for the American values of freedom and equality to apply to all couples.”

The plaintiff couples in both states’ lawsuits are denied the freedom to marry the person they love, and denied recognition of valid marriages entered into in other jurisdictions.

“We applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to accept the Sixth Circuit cases for review this session,” said ACLU of Ohio Executive Director Christine Link. “We are committed to achieving LGBT equality in all aspects of life, including employment, housing, and marriage. Today, we are one step closer to the promise of full rights and freedoms for all loving and committed same-sex couples in Ohio.”

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled November 6, 2014 to uphold four bans in Michigan, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky on the freedom to marry and the recognition of marriages between same-sex couples performed in other jurisdictions. It is the only federal circuit court after the Supreme Court’s watershed 2013 Windsor ruling to uphold such bans.

More information about the cases is available at:

ACLU and Lambda Legal Ask Supreme Court to Review Ohio Marriage Cases

Obergefell, et al. v. Hodges – Freedom to Marry in Ohio

Bourke v. Beshear & Love v. Beshear – Freedom to Marry in Kentucky

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