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Gay Rights at the Supreme Court

March 28, 2013

On March 28, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments in a landmark gay rights case: United States v. Windsor. The case addresses the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which federally defines marriage—and all rights and benefits associated with that designation—as a union between a man and a woman.

Hadassah joined with the Anti-Defamation League, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Central Conference of American Rabbis, National Council for Jewish Women and over a dozen other organizations in an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief, urging the court to find DOMA unconstitutional. The brief includes the following passage from Hadassah and is posted in full on the Hadassah website.

Hadassah vigorously condemns discrimination of any kind and, as a pillar of the Jewish community, understands the dangers of bigotry. Hadassah strongly supports the constitutional guarantees of religious liberty and equal protection, and rejects discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Hadassah supports government action that provides civil status to committed same-sex couples and their families equal to the civil status provided to the committed relationships of men and women and their families, with all associated legal rights and obligations, both federal and state.

Hadassah has a long history advocating for civil rights and against all forms of discrimination. In 2006, the Hadassah National Board passed the Equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Americans Policy Statement. “Hadassah strongly opposes efforts at the federal and state level, whether through legislation, referendum or constitutional amendment, that would selectively limit or deny civil rights to same-sex couples and their families, thereby abusing the spirit of the amendment process and discouraging further expansion of gay rights.” Click here to read the full statement.

The Supreme Court has expedited posting the transcripts and audio recordings of Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry, a case regarding gay marriage in California that was argued on Tuesday, to the Supreme Court website. Hadassah also signed an amicus brief in the Holligsworth v. Perry case, which can be found in full on the Hadassah website.  Rulings in both cases are expected in June and Hadassah will provide additional information as it becomes available.

Hadassah’s Amicus Brief Program, initiated in 1998, is a project of Hadassah's National Center for Attorneys Councils that engages participating Hadassah member attorneys from across the country. For additional information about the Attorneys Councils or Amicus Brief Program contact attorneyscouncils@hadassah.org.

Date: 3/28/2013 12:00:00 AM

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