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Nonbelievers Tell Supreme Court: Declare DOMA and Prop 8 Unconstitutional

American Humanist Association leaders to join LGBT coalition partners at a rally outside the Supreme Court

For Immediate Release

Contact: Brian Magee, bmagee@americanhumanist.org, 202-238-9088 ext. 105

(Washington, DC, Mar. 26, 2013)— The American Humanist Association urges the Supreme Court to find the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 unconstitutional as the court hears oral arguments beginning today in historic cases regarding marriage equality. The American Humanist Association filed amicus curiae in both cases, and leaders from the organization will participate in a rally outside the Supreme Court at 8:30 a.m. this morning.

“The Supreme Court has the opportunity to give all couples equal rights and dignity under the law,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “Religious groups don’t have the right to target others for government discrimination. This nation should support a secular government that respects the rights of all people.”

The American Humanist Association filed amicus briefs with the Supreme Court in February arguing that, under the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment, discrimination against gays and lesbians, such as the case with race or gender, must be presumed to be unconstitutional. The full amicus briefs can be found here and here.

“The discrimination against gays and lesbians embodied in DOMA and Prop 8 is inconsistent with the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equality to all Americans,” said Bill Burgess, legal coordinator of the American Humanist Association’s legal arm, the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.  “The time has come for the Supreme Court to bring our marriage laws into line with the Constitution, just as it did decades ago in overturning bans on interracial marriage.”

For decades, the American Humanist Association has advocated for the rights of LGBT Americans. In 2009, the AHA created the LGBT Humanist Council to provide a forum for LGBT humanists and allies to support marriage equality, benefits for same-sex partners in the military, and other important issues to the LGBT community. The AHA is also a member of several coalitions supporting marriage equality, including United for Marriage, the Respect for Marriage Coalition, and LGBT Lobbyists.

“Humanists are here, as we have always been, to stand up for marriage equality,” said Jason Frye, coordinator of the LGBT Humanist Council. “Even after today’s hearing, we will continue the fight to provide same-sex couples the benefits that all Americans enjoy.”

The AHA also presents an LGBT Humanist Pride award at its annual conference. Author and blogger Greta Christina will receive the award at the AHA’s 72nd Annual Conference, held from May 30 to June 2 in San Diego. Past awardees included activist Candace Gingrich-Jones and actor George Takei.

The AHA’s Executive Director Roy Speckhardt and Appignani Humanist Legal Center Coordinator Bill Burgess are available for comment and questions. Please email bmagee@americanhumanist.org or call 202-238-9088.

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The American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., its work is extended through more than 160 local chapters and affiliates across America. Special thanks to the Louis J. Appignani Foundation and The Herb Block Foundation for their support of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms our responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity.

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