WASHINGTON –Today,Damon Hewitt, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, released this statement endorsing the Respect for Marriage Act:
“The Respect for Marriage Act will protect the rights of millions of Americans in same-sex and interracial marriages, as well as those who wish to marry in the future. It reaffirms that this nation believes that all of its citizens are worthy of the same rights and privileges, regardless of whom they choose to love. In this day and age it should be unthinkable that we must continue to fight for basic civil rights. But it is clear that marriage equality is under threat following the Supreme Court’s radical decisionDobbs v. JacksonWomen’s Health, which overturnedRoe v. Wade. That decision has provided the roadmap for unraveling other fundamental rights that are based upon the same constitutional underpinning. We applaud President Biden and Congress for passing this critical preventative legislation to stop the further erosion of rights before it happens.”
Dobbs v. JacksonWomen’s Healthupended decades of established legal precedent and endangered the lives of millions of people nationwide, especially women of color given that access to abortions is deeply intertwined with racial and economic justice due to barriers to health care. The Lawyers’ Committee made this and other salient points in an amicus brief filed in the Supreme Court inDobbs on behalf of over a dozen other civil rights organizations.
The Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment inDobbscould lead to a further erosion of rights. That clause prohibits states from depriving Americans of ‘life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.’ Historically, this clause protected rights not explicitly listed in the Constitution as liberties upon which the state cannot infringe. However,Dobbsjeopardized those rights and invited states to challenge other established precedent, including precedent protecting interracial and same-sex marriage. Several state Attorneys General have already signaled their willingness to strip Americans of their basic right to love their chosen partner.
The Respect for Marriage Act repeals the ill-conceived Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Although DOMA was rendered null and void by the Supreme Court’s decisions inUnited States v. Windsor(2013) andObergefell v. Hodges(2015), the threatDobbsposed to the constitutional principles underlying those cases made it critical that Congress act to codify protections for same-sex and interracial marriage, preempting attempts by regressive radicals to use the Supreme Court to undo hard-won progress on marriage equality.
About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law– The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to mobilize the nation’s leading lawyers as agents for change in the Civil Rights Movement. Today, the Lawyers’ Committee uses legal advocacy to achieve racial justice, fighting inside and outside the courts to ensure that Black people and other people of color have the voice, opportunity, and power to make the promises of our democracy real. For more information, please visithttps://link.edgepilot.com/s/49dd6d33/H_T71th56k6U8NzW0UY74w?u=https://lawyerscommittee.org/