CFI Urges Supreme Court: Don’t Allow Religion to Decide Same-Sex Marriage Rights

For Immediate Release: March 5, 2015
Contact: Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director - (207) 358-9785


The Center for Inquiry filed a brief Thursday with the Supreme Court in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, arguing that denying the right of same-sex couples to marry is being defended only by an unconstitutional reliance on religious codes of morality. CFI is an international organization that advocates for science, reason, and secularism. 

In its brief, written in partnership with the American Humanist Association, CFI argues that the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals erred by finding a rational basis for the state laws of Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky barring same sex couples from marriage. In the final analysis, the appeals court relied on tradition, and a dislike for homosexuality based on religious morality.

The brief notes that multiple Supreme Court decisions have made clear that tradition does not excuse discrimination. Moreover, the reliance on a particular strain of religious morality is forbidden by the Constitution. In American history, religious morality has been used to justify multiple wrongs, from slavery to segregation, and from bans on interracial marriage to restrictions on women’s rights within marriage. The Supreme Court has found time after time that states cannot rely on religious justifications to discriminate in this way.

“The Supreme Court is poised to make a historic decision, potentially extending the protections and benefits of marriage to all Americans,” said Nicholas Little, Legal Director of CFI. “If they affirm the right of same-sex couples to marry, they will have made truly momentous advancements for equal treatment under the law, secular government, and even the fundamental human need for love and companionship.” 

The Center for Inquiry won a landmark legal victory last June, when the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court ruling, allowing Secular Celebrants, such as those trained and certified by CFI, to legally solemnize marriages. (Learn more at

CFI and AHA’s amicus brief can be downloaded at


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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at