American Foundation for Equal Rights

Historic Victories

Special message from AFER’s Adam Umhoefer

The momentum toward marriage equality the past two and a half weeks is inspiring. Consider these events:

  1. In a landmark decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that Prop. 8 is unconstitutional and “serves no purpose…other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California.”
  2. Legislation extending the fundamental freedom to marry was passed with bipartisan support in Washington State, New Jersey and Maryland.
  3. One year after declaring its refusal to defend the so-called Defense of Marriage Act in court, the Obama Administration announced that the families of the brave men and women in our nation’s military should not be denied the rights and protections that come with marriage.
  4. Following in the footsteps of elected state officials like California Governors Arnold Schwarzenegger & Jerry Brown and California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie announced that he will not defend in court the state’s ban on marriage for gay and lesbian couples.
  5. In a sweeping ruling by a Federal District Court judge appointed by President George W. Bush, DOMA was found to be in clear and direct violation of the U.S. Constitution for the second time.

Despite these historic victories, a dedicated group remains committed to ensuring that the destructive animus toward gay and lesbian Americans is perpetuated in our country. Anti-marriage forces are already mobilizing to reverse the recent court victories and pushing for voter referendums in Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina and Washington State. Fundamental freedoms should never be subject to the whims of a political campaign.

The recent events are the direct result of dedicated, diverse coalitions of national, statewide and grassroots groups working together; elected leaders not only standing up for what it right, but acting on it; and people like you who are doing what they can to ensure that progress is achieved.

Over the coming weeks and months, our resolve will be tested. The anti-marriage forces will strive to erase every gain and every victory. But I know that together we will achieve equality.