History at the Supreme Court: Day 1

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March 26, 2013
Executive Director Kevin M. Cathcart

Powerful arguments for equality and justice filled the chamber in our nation’s highest court today. The arguments just ended, and our Legal Director, Jon Davidson, who was in the courtroom, had one word to describe the day: “Thrilling.”

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the case challenging California’s antigay Proposition 8. Proposition 8 has visited profound harms on same-sex couples in California, and must be struck down. As we have been arguing for years, same-sex couples deserve the freedom to marry. That is what attorneys defending equality told the Court today.

In the friend-of-the-court brief we filed in this case, we wrote: “Proposition 8 required the state to provide lesbians and gay men less protection against inequality than anyone else, which literally violates the mandate of the federal Equal Protection Clause.”

Just 10 years ago to the day, we were at the Court as Paul Smith argued against state sodomy statutes and for the right to forge personal relationships without fear of being branded a criminal, in Lambda Legal’s historic case Lawrence v. Texas. Today, attorneys for same-sex couples came before the Supreme Court to argue that their relationships should be treated equally under the law. What an amazing distance we have traveled.

But until LGBT people and people with HIV enjoy full equality in every state in the country, we still have a long way to go. Tomorrow, after argument in the case challenging the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, we will update you about Day 2 in this historic term of the Supreme Court.

Congratulations to the excellent lawyers and courageous plaintiffs who fought for justice today.

Thank you for supporting all our work, and stay up-to-date on this #time4marriage by following us on Twitter.

Listen to the Supreme Court argument, or read the transcript.

Learn more: Marriage at the Supreme Court

Read our blog series "From Sex to Marriage: How We Got From Lawrence v. Texas to the Cases Against DOMA and Prop 8."

Pictured above, our team at the Supreme Court today: Legal Director Jon W. Davidson, Marriage Project Director Camilla Taylor, and Law and Policy Project Director Jennifer C. Pizer. Photo by Syd Peterson.