Washington, D.C. – Today, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, delivered its historic “People’s Brief” – with 207,551 signatories calling for full nationwide marriage equality – to the U.S. Supreme Court. HRC was joined by James Obergefell, the named plaintiff in Obergefell v. Hodges, the consolidated marriage equality cases set to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on April 28th and decided by late June.
The People’s Brief has more signatories than any amicus brief ever submitted to the Supreme Court. With all of the signatures, each copy of The People’s Brief is approximately 3,500 pages long, for a total of approximately 175,000 pages. It has required four days of round-the-clock printing in order to complete the 50 copies required by the Court in time for today’s deadline for amicus briefs. Nineteen boxes were delivered to the Court on Friday morning.
“Each and every signature on this brief – more than 200,000 of them – is a piece of evidence that this country is ready for marriage equality,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Through this historic document, the American people, LGBT and allies alike, are standing shoulder to shoulder to insist on fairness for all. Ultimately, this brief tells a simple truth – the Constitution cannot tolerate discrimination, and it's time for all couples to be treated equally under the law.”
“This is an incredible day,” said plaintiff James Obergefell. “More than 200,000 of my fellow American citizens have signed The People’s Brief so that my marriage and many others can be recognized. While it’s bittersweet that John is not able to be here with me, I am so proud of the hundreds of thousands of people who have signed this brief so that every single person has the right to marry the person they love.”
The People’s Brief was authored by prominent civil rights litigator Roberta Kaplan, who successfully argued against a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) in 2013. The People’s Brief has been signed by Americans from all 50 states as well as Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Edie Windsor, the plaintiff at the heart of the United States v. Windsor case overturning DOMA, was the first person to sign the People’s Brief. More than 28,000 additional signatures came from citizens of one of the four Sixth Circuit states (Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee and Kentucky) where gay couples currently cannot marry and which have cases pending before the Supreme Court.
“The People’s Brief is yet further proof that the time is right for the Supreme Court to recognize the simple proposition that all Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation, and regardless of the state in which they live, are entitled to be treated the same under the law, including with respect to the right to marry the person who they love,” said lead counsel on the brief, Roberta Kaplan. “The history of our country shows that ‘times truly can blind.’ Today, Americans in all 50 states can now understand that the families of their gay brothers, sisters, neighbors and friends have the same dignity and deserve the same recognition and respect as all other families.”
“I have said that the word marriage is a magic word - and it should be available to every person,” said Edie Windsor. “I'm so proud that more than 200,000 Americans joined me in signing the People's Brief, urging the Supreme Court to allow every person to marry the person they love and to live openly and with dignity.”
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
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