Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Red State Brief filed with U.S. Supreme Court - Kentucky Equality Federation represents Kentucky gay couples

Kentucky Equality Federation urges universal equality for all LGBTI people in a "Friend of the Court" brief to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Kentucky Equality Federation today joined the Utah Pride Center, Campaign for Southern Equality, and twenty-five (25) other organizations in filing an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court.

The brief urges the justices to strike down a wide range of anti-gay laws. The brief calls on the Court to uphold appellate court rulings in both the Defense of Marriage and Proposition 8 cases currently pending. The Kentucky Equality Federation joined Utah Pride in this “Red State Brief” to detail the long history of anti-gay legislation in many states around the nation that denigrates the LGBT community.

The brief contends that many local state laws are designed to routinely deny gay citizens basic civil rights, and many state codes are woven in a tangle that can only be unraveled by the courts.

“This brief is about arguing on behalf of the millions of Americans who feel hopeless that legislation on a state level will ever advance their cause,” said Utah Pride Attorney and former Bush Administration U.S. Attorney Brett Tolman. The brief contends that many local state laws are designed to routinely deny gay citizens basic civil rights, and many state codes are woven in a tangle that can only be unraveled by the courts.

Kentucky Equality
Federation Vice-
President of Legal,
Attorney Jillian Hall.
Kentucky Equality Federation's Vice President of Legal, Jillian Hall headed-up Kentucky Equality Federation's involvement. Kentucky Equality Federation represents Kentucky in the brief.

“It was an honor to sign alongside several other prominent equality organizations in our fellow conservative “red” states. By working together as one rather than 28 individual groups, we were able to present a united front to the U.S. Supreme Court and explain why their decision not only impacts the individual cases before the bench, but everyone in the LGBTI community unable to obtain the same benefits as their heterosexual counterparts,” stated Kentucky Equality Federation Vice President of Legal, Jillian Hall. "Recognition from the highest federal court in the land as to the equality of everyone concerning marriage, regardless of sexual orientation, would be a huge leap in the fight for the citizens of our Commonwealth."

"Marriage is a fundamental human right and the lack of recognition by the federal government to gay couples legally married in their home states should be unconstitutional," stated Kentucky Equality Federation president Jordan Palmer. "Section II of the Kentucky Constitution states: 'Absolute and arbitrary power over the lives, liberty and property of freemen exists nowhere in a republic, not even in the largest majority.' However, with the commonwealth's 2004 constitutional amendment, gay and lesbian couples are absolutely denied civil rights by the majority."

Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality said, “The Supreme Court is being asked to consider a fundamental question: are LGBT Americans equal people whose humanity and dignity must be recognized? We know there are LGBT youth, adults and families who urgently need - and desire - the rights and protections that our Constitution promises to all, including the ability to marry the person you love.”

“There is a system of discrimination set up in states like Utah where certain local laws offend the Constitution and do harm to the lives of gay Americans,” said Attorney for Utah Pride Paul Burke.

The brief points out a number of discriminatory local laws including lack of protection for gay married military members who are assigned to “red states.”

Today’s filing concludes: “Because the Constitution neither knows nor tolerates classes among its citizens, gay Americans must be treated equally under the law – everywhere. This Court should affirm the fundamental rights of gay Americans and adopt heightened scrutiny to review laws targeting gay people. The best way to stop discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is for this Court to stop de jure discrimination against gay Americans.”

The Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments for these cases on March 26-27, 2013.

The Red State amicus brief can be found here:

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