ACLU Oklahoma: We remember the struggles
Oklahoma City – The Supreme Court of the United States issued a historic ruling this morning. In its ruling in the case of Obergefell v Hodges, the nation’s highest court held that the Constitution of the United States of America guarantees the freedom to marry for all Americans, invalidating the 13 remaining discriminatory marriage laws around the country. Oklahoma joined the ranks of states recognizing marriage equality on October 6, 2015 when the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of the 10th Circuit decision in Bishop v Smith.
“The Court’s ruling today brings our nation one giant step closer to more fully realizing the promise of equality and justice for all," said Ryan Kiesel, Executive Director of the ACLU (Advanced Civil Liberties Union). "The fundamental right to marry who you love and build a life and family together is now a permanent and inextricable fixture of our nation’s highest law. Years from now the idea that anyone would be denied this fundamental right to marry will seem absurd, but the significance of today’s ruling will continue to ring true for ages.
"Today we remember the struggles and sacrifices that made today’s ruling possible," continues Kiesel. "While our nation’s laws tend to evolve towards greater equality and justice, it does not happen by accident. As we celebrate we are mindful that injustices persist and the struggle felt by LGBT Americans, and in particular LGBT youth, is a very real. We must transform the joy of today into the grit we will no doubt need to guide our nation towards true equality in the future."
Today’s decision falls on an already historic date in the history of LGBT rights. Exactly 12 years ago to the day, on June 26, 2003, the Supreme Court, in a landmark decision in Lawrence v Texas struck down the Texas law and upheld the privacy rights of all Americans – saying no longer can gay people be considered “criminals” because they love others of the same sex.
Following the victory in Lawrence, the Supreme Court issued the landmark decision in Windsor v United States two years ago to the day on June 26, 2013. That opinion struck down the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), saying it is unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment for the federal government to enforce discriminatory marriage laws. Writing for the Court, Justice Kennedy said “[T]he federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity.”
In the wake of today’s historic ruling in Obergefell, couples will soon have the freedom to marry and equal respect for their marriages across America. This ruling will bring joy to families, and final nationwide victory to the decades-long freedom to marry movement.
“Today, we stand on the shoulders of giants - from the heroes of Stonewall to Harvey Milk to LGBT leaders of today - generations have put their blood, sweat, and tears into this historic victory," said Troy Stevenson, Executive Director, Freedom Oklahoma. "And thanks to the sacrifices of many the dignity of marriage is now the right of EVERY American. Make no mistake; in the arena of marriage, this victory is absolute and irrevocable.
"However, our work is far from complete, and our movement must be stronger than ever. Fore until full and lived equality is reality for all, we will not stop fighting. Freedom means freedom for everyone, and as long as our trans sisters and brothers are denied dignity under the law; as long as our youth are legally subjected to the abuse of so-called “conversion therapy;” as long as being queer means you can be fired from your job or thrown out of your home - right here in Oklahoma - we will continue to fight everyday – for all Oklahomans!”