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The Mass LGBTQ Bar Joins Others in Submitting Amicus Brief in Challenges to DOMA and Prop 8

The Mass LGBTQ Bar joined more than 40 organizations as amici curiae, or “friends of the Court,” signing briefs filed with the United States Supreme Court in support of the Plaintiff challenging Section 3 of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in United States v. Windsor and in support of the Plaintiffs challenging California's Proposition 8 (Prop. 8) in Hollingsworth v. Perry. The briefs were written by Jonathan S. Franklin of Fulbright & Jaworski LLP. They urge the Court to hold “that classifications based on sexual orientation [like DOMA Section 3 and Prop. 8] are subject to heightened scrutiny, so that governments cannot use invented, after-the-fact rationalizations to mask and justify discrimination based on prejudice, antipathy, or baseless stereotypes. Discrimination based on sexual orientation bears the same essential hallmarks as other kinds of discrimination that have long received heightened scrutiny, and it should be treated no differently under” the Constitution’s Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses.

The briefs argue persuasively that:

•        Gay people have suffered a long history of prejudicial discrimination.

•        Sexual orientation is not related to a person’s ability to contribute to society.

•        Sexual orientation is a distinguishing characteristic that defines a discrete group of people.

•        Gay people remain disadvantaged in the political arena.

The briefs were supported by a broad coalition, including GLAD, MassEquality, BBA, Mass. Bar Association, ACLU, NAACP, Hispanic National Bar Association, NOW Foundation, and Asian American Justice Center.

The brief challenging DOMA is available here.  The brief challenging Prop 8 is available here

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