Transgender Law Center celebrates the decision by the Supreme Court of the United States today to accept review of two cases that have challenged the constitutionality of laws barring access to marriage for same-sex couples. The cases include Perry v. Brown, in which the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that California’s Proposition 8, which prohibited same-sex couples from marrying in that state, is unconstitutional, and Windsor v. United States, in which the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. DOMA bars the federal government from recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples.
“We are pleased that the court has agreed to decide once and for all whether these blatantly discriminatory marriage bans are permitted under our Constitution,” said Ilona Turner, Legal Director of Transgender Law Center. “These laws that unconstitutionally restrict access to marriage based solely on gender must be struck down. We are confident that the Court will stand with the slew of recent federal court decisions holding that both DOMA and Prop 8 are unconstitutional.”
“Marriage equality is an issue that affects many members of the transgender community,” added Masen Davis, Transgender Law Center’s Executive Director. “It helps all of us when the government gets out of the business of policing people’s gender and using gender to define who gets access to important benefits. Marriage equality is an important issue for the entire LGBT community.”
Frequently, whether a transgender person’s marriage is recognized as valid or not by the government depends on what state they live in, what medical procedures they’ve undergone, and whether or not an employer or insurer or family member challenges their marriage’s validity.
Continued Davis, “We know that marriage equality alone won’t solve all of the serious challenges that the transgender community faces. But the increasing recognition of marriage equality throughout the land will, by definition, lessen government scrutiny into what a person’s legal gender is, making it increasingly possible for all of us to live our authentic lives free from discrimination.”
Transgender Law Center joined other civil rights organizations in submitting friend-of-the-court briefs in both Perry and Windsor, arguing that gender-based marriage bans violate the Constitution.