Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Gay marriage advocates present before the U.S. Supreme Court

1,029 views

Published on

Gay marriage advocates are set to present arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in April on whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. Further, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider whether nonrecognition states must recognize marriages performed lawfully for gay and lesbian couples in recognition states. .

Published in: Law
  • Be the first to comment

Gay marriage advocates present before the U.S. Supreme Court

  1. 1. Michelle May O’Neil, Dallas, Texas Michelle.Oneil@GodwinLewis.com Gay marriage advocates prepare to present to the U.S. Supreme Court Gay marriage advocates prepare to present to the U.S. Supreme Court By Michelle May O’Neil LGBT rights advocate and family law specialist in Dallas, Texas Michelle O’Neil has been an advocate and ally of gay and lesbian rights since the beginning of her career as a lawyer. While working in the constitutional division of the Texas Attorney General’s Office, she learned about the injustice and discrimination that is beset by gay and lesbians in America. From early in her career, she defied her conservative upbringing and began her lifelong advocacy for the rights of same-sex couples. Now, as a specialist in Texas family and divorce law, Ms. O’Neil continues her advocacy for the rights of gay and lesbian couples in securing the right to marry (and the right to dissolve those marriages), as well as the rights of gay and lesbian couples in parenting their children. Representing an “other mother” in her quest for custody of her emotional but not biological daughter, Ms. O’Neil won the first case in the Texas appellate courts granting standing to sue for a non-biological parent. She is widely respected as a “go-to” lawyer in Dallas, Texas and surrounding areas to represent gay and lesbians in divorce, property division, and custody cases. Contact Michelle May O’Neil: Michelle May O’Neil Shareholder at Godwin Lewis, P.C. 1201 Elm Street, Suite 1700 Dallas, Texas 75270 214-939-4427 Michelle.Oneil@GodwinLewis.com www.oneilattorneys.com
  2. 2. Michelle May O’Neil, Dallas, Texas Michelle.Oneil@GodwinLewis.com Gay marriage advocates prepare to present to the U.S. Supreme Court Gay marriage lawyers’ arguments have to answer specific questions Supreme Court Justices questions distinguish between states to ban same-sex marriage versus states which refuse to recognize same-sex marriages granted in recognition states. Figure 1Douglas Hallward-Driemeier of RopesDouglas Hallward-Driemeier of Ropes & Gray and Mary Bonauto of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders will argue for gay marriage on April 28 in the U.S. Supreme Court. On April 28,, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in the four cases set to determine the country’s position on same sex marriage for the foreseeable future. The four cases, one each from Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee, each upheld gay marriage bans in their states, creating a conflict between those jurisdictions and other jurisdictions that have stricken such bans. The conflict between the decisions created the proper playing field for the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the cases. Not since U.S. v. Windsor was decided two years ago has the issue of same sex marriage been poised for determination on the national scene. In Windsor, the Court struck down the part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that prevented federal recognition of same sex marriages for the purpose of granting federal benefits. The U.S. Supreme Court has stated the issues pending as follows: 1) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex? 2) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state? http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/obergefell-v-hodges/ On the first question, one lawyer for each side will be given 45 minutes each to present arguments for and against the question. Mary Bonauto, civil rights project director for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), will present the pro-marriage argument on question 1. Former Michigan Solicitor General John Bursch of Warner Norcross & Judd in Grand Rapids, Michigan will argue question 1 for the defendants.
  3. 3. Michelle May O’Neil, Dallas, Texas Michelle.Oneil@GodwinLewis.com Gay marriage advocates prepare to present to the U.S. Supreme Court On the second question, one lawyer for each side will be given 30 minutes each to present arguments for and against the question. Douglas Hallward-Driemeier, who leads the Supreme Court and appellate practice at Ropes & Gray, will appear at the lectern for their gay and lesbian clients on question 2. Tennessee Associate Attorney General Joseph Whalen will represent the four states on question 2. http://www.nationallawjournal.com/id=1202722127019/Supreme-Court-Veteran-FirstTime-Advocate- to-Argue-for-Gay-Marriage?slreturn=20150312151823 The U.S. Supreme Court’s term end in late June and most knowledgeable court watchers expect a decision by then. GLAD’s Mary Bonauto lawyer arguing in favor of same-sex couples’ right to marry Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) Civil Rights Project Director Mary L. Bonauto was selected to argue before the U.S. Supreme Court on April 28, 2015, in favor of the right to marry by gay and lesbian couples who are presently being excluded from marriage. “Same-sex couples should not be excluded from the joy, the security, and the full citizenship signified by that institution,” said Bonauto. “I believe the Court will give us a fair hearing, and I look forward to the day when all LGBT Americans will be able to marry the person they love.” Bonauto participated as part of the legal team in Windsor v. U.S., which resulted in the striking down of the Defense of Marriage Act. She argued GLAD’s case Goodridge v. DPH, which made Massachusets the first state in which same-sex couples could marry in 2004. In assisting on DeBoer v. Snyder, the Michigan case presently set for argument before the U.S. Supreme Court, she assisted in organizing the amicus briefs in favor of the right to marry issues. She will present argument on behalf of the petitioners from Ohio and Tennessee on the question: “Does the 14th
  4. 4. Michelle May O’Neil, Dallas, Texas Michelle.Oneil@GodwinLewis.com Gay marriage advocates prepare to present to the U.S. Supreme Court Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?” Read more about Mary Bonauto at the GLAD site: http://www.glad.org/about/staff/mary-bonauto Same-sex marriage cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court -- Michigan Michigan’s case DeBoer v. Snyder ruling against same-sex marriage A federal judge in Michigan in March 2014 ruled struck down the marriage ban for same-sex couples, allowing a window of time for same-sex couples to marry. More than 300 same-sex couples across the state received marriage licenses in a 24-hour period until the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay in the decision. The attorneys representing the pro-marriage plaintiffs include Carole M. Stanyar; Dana Nessel of Nessel and Kessel Law; Kenneth Mogill of Mogill, Posner & Cohen; Wayne State University Law Professor Robert Sedler; and Mary Bonauto of the Boston-based Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD). The trial court’s ruling came following a two-week trial.The judge Bernard A. Friedman dismissed testimony from the defendants' key witness, Mark Regnerus, author of the so-called "New Family
  5. 5. Michelle May O’Neil, Dallas, Texas Michelle.Oneil@GodwinLewis.com Gay marriage advocates prepare to present to the U.S. Supreme Court Structures Study" saying that he found the testimony "entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration." April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse are a lesbian couple from Michigan who have been together for more than 10 years. Both women are nurses who work for Detroit-area hospitals. They are also foster parents who are licensed by the State of Michigan. Together, they took in four special-needs newborns who were either abandoned or surrendered at birth. April and Jayne wished to adopt these children together, but were prevented from doing so because Michigan’s adoption code prohibits unmarried couples from adopting children jointly. Michigan law also bans same-sex couples from marrying, leaving April and Jayne with no opportunity for joint legal rights to the children they are raising together. April adopted the couple’s two daughters while Jayne adopted their two sons. April and Jayne filed suit to seek the same protections for their children that are afforded to opposite- sex couples. Subsequently, they included in their case, a challenge to the same-sex marriage ban in Michigan. DeBoer v. Snyder is their federal court challenge to Michigan’s laws forbidding same-sex marriage and same-sex second-parent adoptions. Hat tip to Freedomtomarry.org: http://www.freedomtomarry.org/pages/marriage-cases-seeking- supreme-court-review RESOURCES, DeBoer v. Snyder: Supreme Court Docket (14-571) State's Opening SCOTUS Brief • 3/27 Plaintiffs' Opening Brief to SCOTUS • 2/27 Response in Support of Certiorari from Michigan • 11/24 Petition for Certiorari to SCOTUS • 11/17 Case Background & Briefs
  6. 6. Michelle May O’Neil, Dallas, Texas Michelle.Oneil@GodwinLewis.com Gay marriage advocates prepare to present to the U.S. Supreme Court Same-sex marriage cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court -- Tennessee Tennessee’s case Tanco v. Haslan ruling against same-sex marriage Figure 2: Three Tennessee couples are the plaintiffs in one of the same-sex marriage cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. Three lesbian couples sued in Tennessee for recognition of their marriages. The couples, who include a full-time Army reservist and his husband and two professors of veterinary medicine, all formerly lived and married in other states and later moved to Tennessee to pursue careers and make new homes for their families. Tennessee law currently prohibits recognition of their marriages and treats the couples as legal strangers. The lawsuit argues that Tennessee’s laws prohibiting recognition of the couples’ marriages violates the federal Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process and the constitutionally protected right to travel between and move to other states. A federal judge granted the plaintiffs’ relief and ordered state officials to respect the marriages of three same-sex couples. The couples are represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights. The 6th Circuit federal court of appeals reversed the ruling of the trial court, upholding Tennessee ban against recognition of other states’ legal same-sex marriages. Hat tip to Freedomtomarry.org: http://www.freedomtomarry.org/pages/marriage-cases-seeking- supreme-court-review RESOURCES, Tanco v. Haslam: Supreme Court Docket (14-562) State's Opening SCOTUS Brief • 3/27 Plaintiffs' Opening Brief to SCOTUS • 2/27 Response Opposed to Certiorari from Tennessee • 12/15 Petition for Certiorari to SCOTUS • 11/14 Case Background & Briefs from NCLR
  7. 7. Michelle May O’Neil, Dallas, Texas Michelle.Oneil@GodwinLewis.com Gay marriage advocates prepare to present to the U.S. Supreme Court Same-sex marriage cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court -- Ohio Ohio’s case Obergefell v. Hodges & Henry v. Hodges ruling against same-sex marriage Figure 3: Gay married partners John Arthur and James Obergefell sued the state of Ohio for recognition of their marriage. In July 2013, a federal judge in Ohio ruled that state officials must respect the marriage of a Cincinnati couple, John Arthur and James Obergefell, who married in MD after 20 years together. John and James made the journey to Maryland to marry as John neared the end of his battle with ALS, which made the trip by medical transport plane expensive and complicated. The wedding ceremony was performed by John’s aunt on the tarmac at the Baltimore airport before returning to Ohio. The couple then sued their home state of Ohio, which has a discriminatory constitutional amendment that excludes same-sex couples from marriage and bars them from attaining any other form of family status. In his decision, the trial judge wrote, "There is insufficient evidence of a legitimate state interest to justify this singling out of same sex married couples given the severe and irreparable harm it imposes." Watch full video from the ceremony: http://bcove.me/1y6ht4qb The 6th Circuit federal court of appeals reversed the federal trial court ruling and upheld the marriage ban. John Arther died in October 2013, 3 months after the marriage ceremony. Hat tip to Freedomtomarry.org: http://www.freedomtomarry.org/pages/marriage-cases-seeking- supreme-court-review RESOURCES, Obergefell & Henry v. Hodges:
  8. 8. Michelle May O’Neil, Dallas, Texas Michelle.Oneil@GodwinLewis.com Gay marriage advocates prepare to present to the U.S. Supreme Court Supreme Court Docket (14-556) State's SCOTUS Opening Brief • 3/27 Plaintiffs' Opening Brief to SCOTUS • 2/27 Plaintiffs' Reply Brief in Support of Certiorari • 12/20 Response in Support of Certiorari from Ohio • 12/12 Petition for Certiorari to SCOTUS • 11/14 Case Background & Briefs Same-sex marriage cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court -- Kentucky Kentucky’s case Bourke v. Beshear & Love v. Beshear ruling against same-sex marriage The Kentucky case is made up of 6 gay and lesbian couples as plaintiffs fighting for marriage equality. In February 2014, a federal trial judge ruled that the state of Kentucky must recognize marriages legally performed in recognition states and held the state’s marriage ban unconsitutional. The Kentucky Attorney General declined to defend marriage discrimination, but the Governor hired private counsel to file the appeal challenging the trial judge’s ruling. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the trial judge’s ruling and reinstated the marriage ban. Hat tip to Freedomtomarry.org: http://www.freedomtomarry.org/pages/marriage-cases-seeking- supreme-court-review RESOURCES, Bourke & Love v. Beshear: Supreme Court Docket (14-574)
  9. 9. Michelle May O’Neil, Dallas, Texas Michelle.Oneil@GodwinLewis.com Gay marriage advocates prepare to present to the U.S. Supreme Court State's Opening SCOTUS Brief • 3/27 Plaintiffs' Opening Brief to SCOTUS • 2/27 Plaintiffs' Reply Brief in Support of Certiorari • 12/22 Response in Support of Certiorari from Kentucky • 12/9 Petition for Certiorari to SCOTUS • 11/17 Case Background & Briefs Polling data shows majority of Americans support marriage equality Republicans support marriage equality by 40% A National Supermajority: CNN conducted a poll in February 2015 which showed that of Americans believe same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marriage equality. The poll also showed that marriage equality has support with every age group of Americans with 70% of Americans under 50 supporting same-sex marriage and 52% of Americans over age 65 supporting the cause. Bipartisan Momentum: A Washington Post poll from a year ago showed that support for same-sex marriage crosses party lines, with 40% of Republicans favoring marriage equality, and 23 % strongly supporting. Coast-to-Coast Support: The CNN poll from 2015 also showed that support for freedom to marriage extends to every region of the country. The West supports marriage 67%; the Midwest 60%; the Northeast 70%; and, in the South, a record 57% show support for the constitutional right to marry.
  10. 10. Michelle May O’Neil, Dallas, Texas Michelle.Oneil@GodwinLewis.com Gay marriage advocates prepare to present to the U.S. Supreme Court

×