Contact: Brian Magee, 202-238-9088
(Washington, D.C. – February 7, 2012) Humanists and atheists are hopeful that the strong decision issued today by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturning a gay marriage ban in California will be upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. The 2-1 decision declares that the ballot measure called “Prop 8” passed in 2008 denying same-sex couples from getting married violates the U.S. Constitution under the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.
The 128-page ruling states, “Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples. The Constitution simply does not allow for ‘laws of this sort.'”
“This is a clear cut victory for LGBT Americans, and equal protections guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution must be upheld,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “Even though supporters of the discriminatory Proposition 8 have promised an appeal, it is difficult to see how they can prevail given the strength of today’s decision.”
The American Humanist Association joined in an amicus brief in the case, Perry v. Brown, with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Foundation, Human Rights Campaign, and Courage Campaign Institute.
“As a gay man and a Californian, it’s about time the federal courts recognize that marriage is a fundamental right for all Americans,” said Jason Frye, director of the LGBT Humanist Council, a project of the American Humanist Association. “Conservative religious groups have wasted millions of dollars campaigning to remove the rights of LGBT Americans, and I’m pleased that the court stood on the side of equality.”
Because of the way this ruling is worded, it’s possible the eventual outcome could only apply to California. The American Humanist Association will monitor a potential decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, which could take this case as an opportunity to declare without reservation that everyone is protected by the equal protection rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
“In a monumental move for justice, the 9th circuit shattered old canards with the strike of a gavel,” Frye added.
To read the ruling online, click here.
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 100 local chapters and affiliates across America.
Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms our responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity.
The LGBT Humanist Council of the American Humanist Association seeks to improve the lives of LGBT individuals though education, public service and outreach and serve as a resource for members of the American Humanist Association, the greater freethought community, and the public on LGBT issues.