HRC Blog

What’s at Stake at the Supreme Court

Post submitted by Stephen Bishop, HRC Political Intern

On March 26th and 27th, the Supreme Court will hear two cases challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8 and the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).There is a great deal at stake in these prospective rulings and the Human Rights Campaign is working diligently to show the nation that these discriminatory laws have no place within our country.

The first case, entitled Hollingsworth v. Perry, is a challenge to California’s Proposition 8. It centers on the principle that all Americans deserve the right to marry the one they love, and that that freedom should not be denied based on sexual orientation. Loving, committed same-sex couples want to marry for the same reasons as their straight counterparts – to share their hopes and dreams, be there for one another in good times and bad and find that special someone to grow old with. As President Obama eloquently stated in his second inaugural speech, "Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law... For if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well."

The following day, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the Windsor v. United States case against Section 3 of DOMA. There are currently more than 1,138 federal rights, benefits and protections based on marital status that are denied to lawfully-married same-sex couples. These include access to Social Security and tax benefits, family and medical leave, immigration rights, federal health coverage and much more. Exclusion from these benefits not only affects the partners within these unions, but the hundreds of thousands children being raised across the country by same-sex couples. This week, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) announced their support for marriage for gay and lesbian couples due to one a simple reason: it’s good for children.

Momentum for marriage equality has never been greater. The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll shows a record high of 58 percent of registered voters nationwide support marriage equality.  Moreover, 64 percent of these voters say that the constitution should be the basis for establishing a right to marry for same-sex couples compared to individual states.

HRC is working with a number of allied organizations as a part of the United for Marriage coalition to celebrate this historic event. Wearing red, supporters will gather at the Supreme Court building at 8:30 am on Tuesday. Additionally, more than 150 events in all 50 states will be taking place.

As the hearings proceed, we will provide live updates and breaking news. To follow, visit

There is a great deal at stake in the following weeks, but history has always moved towards justice. Our country is ready for marriage equality. It’s time.


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