ADL Urges Supreme Court to Overturn State Marriage Bans

New York, NY, March 6, 2015 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has brought together a broad coalition of religious, cultural and civil rights organizations, representing diverse faiths, traditions and cultures, urging the U.S. Supreme Court to reject efforts to impose one particular religious understanding of marriage into law.

ADL filed an amicus brief in the four cases pending before the Court: Obergefell v. Hodges, Tanco v. Haslam, DeBoer v. Snyder, and Bourke v. Beshear, which challenge the constitutionality of state marriage equality bans.

“Marriage bans unconstitutionally enshrine one particular religious view of marriage into law,” said Christopher Wolf, ADL Civil Rights Chair. “It is time to end discrimination against same-sex couples and for the Supreme Court to act to ensure the right to have their marriages recognized.”

“Discriminatory laws targeting disadvantaged groups have long been justified by religious and moral disapproval, but time and time again, the Supreme Court has rejected these arguments,” said Deborah M. Lauter, ADL Civil Rights Director. “The Court needs only to look at its decisions ending slavery, segregation, interracial-marriage bans, and laws restricting women’s roles in public life to reach the right conclusion.”

Ms. Lauter added, “Overturning these bans will not threaten religious liberty. To the contrary, religious liberty is best safeguarded when religious groups retain the freedom to define religious marriage for themselves and the government refrains from promoting a religious viewpoint.”

According to ADL’s brief, 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.

ADL was joined on the briefs by The American Jewish Committee; Bend the Arc – A Jewish Partnership for Justice;  The 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.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.