ADL Urges Supreme Court to Protect Religious Freedom by Supporting Marriage Equality

  • March 12, 2015

ADL brought together a broad coalition of religious, cultural and civil rights organizations, representing diverse faiths, traditions and cultures, to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to reject efforts to impose one particular religious understanding of marriage into law.

Photo credit Victoria Pickering

Photo credit Victoria Pickering

ADL filed a friend- of-the-court brief in the four cases pending before the Court: Obergefell v. Hodges, Tanco v. Haslam, DeBoer v. Snyder, and Bourke v. Beshear. These cases challenge Marriage Bans in Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan, and Kentucky, state constitutional amendments that define marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman. The brief, filed on behalf of a coalition of 25 organizations, recounts how discrimination targeting disadvantaged groups – odious artifacts such as slavery, segregation, bans on interracial marriage, and laws subjugating women – all now considered anachronistic blemishes – were justified by religious and moral disapproval, an argument that has been rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court. The brief also argues that overturning the marriage bans would not only ensure that religious considerations do not improperly influence which marriages the state can recognize, but would also allow religious groups to decide the definition of marriage for themselves. Religions are, and absolutely should remain, free to solemnize and recognize marriages as they see fit, as they do when it comes to interfaith marriages or marriages post-divorce. This brief is just the latest effort by ADL to advance Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) rights around the country and across the globe. ADL was joined on the briefs by The American Jewish Committee; Bend the Arc – A Jewish Partnership for JusticeThe Central Conference of American Rabbis and the Women of Reform Judaism; Global Justice Institute; Hadassah – The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc.; The Hindu American Foundation; The Interfaith Alliance Foundation; The Japanese American Citizens League; Jewish Social Policy Action Network (JSPAN); Keshet; Lutherans Concerned/North America; Metropolitan Community Church; More Light Presbyterians; The National Council of Jewish Women; Nehirim; People for the American Way Foundation; Presbyterian Welcome; ReconcilingWorks: Lutherans for Full Participation; Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Jewish Reconstructionist Communities; Religious Institute, Inc.; The Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund; Society for Humanistic Judaism; South Asian Americans Leading Together; T’ruah: Rabbis for Human Rights-North America; and Women’s League for Conservative Judaism. The law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP prepared the friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of ADL.

More from this Section