Press Release

ADL Brings Together Broad Coalition in Support of Marriage Equality

New York, NY, March 1, 2013 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has brought together a broad coalition of organizations, representing diverse faiths, traditions and cultures, urging the United States Supreme Court to reject efforts to impose one particular religious understanding of marriage into law.

The League filed amicus briefs in two pending cases: Hollingsworth v. Perry (PDF), which challenges the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the California ballot measure restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples, and United States v. Windsor (PDF) on the constitutionality of Section 3 of the 1996 "Defense of Marriage Act" (DOMA).

"In both cases, we have brought together an incredibly diverse and impressive coalition of religious and cultural organizations,” said Deborah M. Lauter, ADL Civil Rights Director. “In Windsor, we argue that religious views of marriage should be kept distinct from a civil understanding of marriage. The ill-conceived and discriminatory 1996 law flouts this longstanding constitutional principle by codifying one particular religious understanding of marriage into federal law.”

“In Perry, we urge the Court to land on the right side of history,” said Christopher Wolf, ADL Civil Rights Chair. “Time and time again, religious and moral disapproval as a basis for discriminatory laws has been rejected by the Supreme Court. 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.”

"The original purpose behind DOMA and Proposition 8 was to express religious and moral condemnation of gay and lesbian people. That is certainly not a legitimate interest of the government," Ms. Lauter said.  "As these briefs demonstrate, there are religious voices that strongly oppose both laws.”

ADL was joined on the briefs by Americans United for Separation of Church and State; Bend the Arc – A Jewish Partnership for Justice;  The Central Conference of American Rabbis and the Women of Reform Judaism; Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST); 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; The National Council of Jewish Women; Nehirim; People for the American Way Foundation; The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice; The Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund; Truah: Rabbis for Human Rights-North America; and Women’s League for Conservative Judaism.

The law firm Ropes and Gray LLP prepared the Windsor friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of ADL.  The law firm of Hogan Lovells US LLP prepared the Perry friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of ADL.