For Immediate Release: June 26, 2015
Contact: Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director
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The Center for Inquiry joins in the celebration today of the Supreme Court’s decision acknowledging that gays and lesbians are guaranteed equal marriage rights by the federal Constitution. After years of struggle, same-sex couples can now marry throughout the United States, finally receiving equal treatment and recognition from their government.
“Bans on same-sex marriage have their roots in outdated religious dogma, and for generations have relegated members of the LGBT community to second-class citizenship, justified only by what some imagine to be the will of God,” said Ronald A. Lindsay, president and CEO of the Center for Inquiry. “But our Constitution is a secular document, and outmoded religious attitudes should have no influence over who does and does not enjoy fundamental human rights.”
“This decision strengthens American secularism,” said Lindsay, “and finally acknowledges what we have always known to be true: People who love each other should be free to marry, no matter what any church has to say about it. We happily welcome the Court’s acknowledgement of LGBT equality before the law.”
Writing for a sharply divided Court, and in face of strident dissents by Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito, and Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Kennedy found that the core principle of equal treatment in the U.S. Constitution protects the right of same-sex couples to marry. Marriage brings with it not only recognition and respect for a relationship, but also access to more than one thousand federal benefits. Refusing to allow gays and lesbians to marry the partner of their choice made them quite literally second class citizens, and after today, such discrimination is no longer legally acceptable.
Forty-eight years ago this month, the Supreme Court decided the landmark case of Loving v. Virginia, recognizing marriage as a fundamental human right, and striking down state laws which banned interracial marriages. Twelve years ago, the Supreme Court, in Lawrence v. Texas, invalidated state laws that criminalized homosexuality, allowing LGBT people to live their lives openly without fear of prosecution. And today, the Supreme Court has opened the doors to matrimony to all, regardless of sexual orientation.
The Center for Inquiry, together with our allies the American Humanist Association, submitted an amicus brief to the Court in these cases, noting that the only justifications provided for discrimination against same sex couples were based on religion, and therefore could not stand.
“Love has won the day over discrimination,” said Nicholas Little, Legal Director of CFI. “We are delighted to see that the Court has accepted that religious dogma is not a sufficient justification for restricting the rights of Americans, and we will continue to fight to ensure not only that LGBT citizens are treated equally in all areas of the law, but also that all public policy is based on reason and science, not religious faith.”