SALT LAKE CITY – On Wednesday, the Utah Pride Center released an amicus brief filed with the United States Supreme Court, which urges the Court to strike down Proposition 8 and begin dismantling all systems of legal discrimination against the country’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
“Because the Constitution neither knows nor tolerates classes among its citizens, gay Americans must be treated equally under the law – everywhere,” the brief states. “This Court should affirm the fundamental rights of gay Americans and adopt heightened scrutiny to review laws targeting gay people. The best way to stop discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is for this Court to stop de jure discrimination against gay Americans.”
Utah Pride was joined by 26 like-minded organizations from numerous states in submitting the brief, and calling on the Court to uphold appellate court rulings in both the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 cases currently pending.
“This is a unique moment in our nation’s history,” said Valerie Larabee, executive director of Utah Pride. “For too many years, LGBT people in Utah and other ‘red states’ have been nearly powerless against a legal and political system that is determined to relegate our community to second class citizen status. From the cradle to the grave – and often beyond – Utah’s laws and similar laws in too many other states across this country attack the inherent dignity of every LGBT person. Today, we ask the Supreme Court to step up and protect millions of LGBT Americans. Together, we ask for the same liberty and Constitutional protections that every other citizen enjoys and in March, it starts with ruling in favor of marriage equality. ”
Attorneys Paul C. Burke and Brett L. Tolman led Utah Pride’s Amicus Project and, along with a talented and strategic nationwide coalition, authored the briefs filed with the Supreme Court today. Burke is a founding board member of the Utah Democratic Lawyers Council, while Tolman is the former U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah, appointed by President George W. Bush.
“This brief is about arguing on behalf of the millions of Americans who feel hopeless that legislation on a state level will ever advance their cause,” Tolman said.
“There is a system of discrimination set up in states like Utah, where certain local laws offend the Constitution and do harm to the lives of gay Americans,” Burke said.
The Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments for these cases on March 26 and 27.
Submitted by: Utah Pride Center