ACLU of Virginia remarks on freedom to marry cases before U.S. Supreme Court

acluClaire Guthrie Gastañaga, executive director of the ACLU of Virginia, released a statement regarding oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court involving challenges to the Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee bans on marriage rights for same-sex couples.

“Today, the Supreme Court convenes to hear arguments on the question whether the Constitution’s protection of equality and liberty includes the freedom of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals (LGBT) to marry the person they love, regardless of gender. The Court will also hear arguments regarding whether a state must recognize the marriage of a same-sex couple who is married in another state.

The answers to both questions should be simple.  Government should not be able to deny same-sex couples the rights, protection and dignity that come with the legal solemnization and recognition of marriage. While Virginia and 36 other states currently enjoy the freedom to marry, 29 percent of the U.S. population still lives in states where the freedom to marry is denied. As a result, children are born without the protection of a legal relationship with their parents, gravely ill individuals may not have the person closest to them make medical decisions, and couples who have been together for decades are deprived of the respect and acceptance that comes with marriage. This is unacceptable.

The time has come for the Supreme Court to put an end to this fundamental inequity and make a historic decision that, like in Loving v. Virginia, will result in a single national standard that protects all families and enriches all of our lives.”