Target: Judge Carlos F. Lucero of the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals 10th Circuit in Denver
Goal: Support the court’s decision to overturn a state’s ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional
The constitutional right of same-sex couples to marry has been upheld by a United States federal court for the first time in history. The ruling overturns the state of Utah’s 2004 ban on same-sex marriages. According to the New York Times the appeals panel compared Utah’s ban to the unconstitutional laws that once restricted interracial marriage, underscoring how both violate individuals’ rights to liberty and equal protection under the law.
Remarkably, the Denver decision prompted further actions in Indiana where the federal district court issued a similar ruling the same day. Judicial support for same-sex marriage has expanded since June, 2013 when the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act that sought to deny federal benefits to lawfully wed same-sex couples. Now it is up to the Supreme Court to conduct a review of this new decision. The justices might wait for every federal appeals court to act on the issue, or they might act if a conflict emerges in the decisions. Exactly when and how the Supreme Court will make this move remains uncertain.
Meanwhile a recent report by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder shows why the Supreme Court must take action soon. The report concludes that some vital Social Security and Veterans benefits cannot be distributed due to variations in states’ assessment of marital status. These discrepancies are not likely to be mediated by Congress.
While there is still much work to be done, this appeals court decision helps lead the way in establishing basic human rights for same-sex couples. Thank Judge Carlos F. Lucero for his decision to reject Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage, and for helping advance marriage equality for all.
Dear Judge Lucero,
I am writing to applaud your panel’s decision to overturn Utah’s 2004 ban on same-sex marriage and uphold the fundamental right of every American, regardless of sexual orientation, to wed the person of his or her choice. Drawing parallels to the unconstitutional laws restricting interracial marriage in effect not so very long ago, this decision underscores the need to respect all marriages.
Furthermore, in taking this vital step you have paved the way for other courts across the nation to protect same-sex couples’ right to marry. The time is now for decisive federal action to legalize same-sex marriage once and for all. I encourage you to continue demonstrating this much-needed leadership and to remain a voice for equality, one that the Supreme Court cannot ignore.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: May S. Young via Flickr