Mayor Muriel Bowser has joined 225 other Mayors in signing onto a friend-of-the-court brief urging the Supreme Court to end marriage discrimination nationwide. The brief is in response to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in DeBoer v. Snyder, which states that gay men and lesbians, unlike all other individuals, have no fundamental right to marry. Mayors from towns as small as Thompson, ND, to the largest five cities in the nation, as well as the US Conference of Mayor, the International Municipal Lawyers Association and the National League of Cities have signed in support of the brief.
“The District’s support for marriage equality is unwavering. As citizens of this great nation, everyone should be treated equally under the law and have the right to marry, regardless of whom they love,” said Mayor Bowser. “I encourage the Supreme Court to stand with the District and recognize that all Americans have the freedom to marry.”
The brief was authored by the City Attorney’s Office of Los Angeles and was filed at the Supreme Court on March 6, 2015. It states: “Municipalities, as the level of government most closely connected to the community they serve, bear a great burden when a target sector of their populace is denied the right to marry. … When the freedom to marry is denied, municipalities are the first level of government to suffer the impact.”
Thousands of same-sex couples across the country don’t receive state and federal protections afforded to legally married couples because they are denied the right to marry. The signatures from this unified group of Mayors highlights the broad support for the freedom to marry gay and lesbian couples, and underscores the momentum to overturn federal marriage discrimination. The District of Columbia has led the country on LGBT rights for years. Same-sex marriage has been legally recognized in the District of Columbia since December 18, 2009. On that day, the District became the first jurisdiction in the United States below the Mason–Dixon Line to allow same-sex couples to marry.
“We launched Mayors for the Freedom to Marry three years ago because mayors are closest to their constituents and communities and singularly able to make the case that marriage makes for stronger families and a more vibrant economy,” said Marc Solomon, national campaign director of Freedom to Marry. “We’re very proud of the 700 mayors who have been a part of Mayors for the Freedom to Marry over the three years of this campaign. This brief demonstrates the diversity of leaders across the country who know that America is ready for the freedom to marry and want the Supreme Court to bring our country to national resolution.”