Highlights of Lambda Legal’s marriage equality work in 2014 and goals for 2015.
Lambda Legal scored many amazing victories this year in the fight for the rights of LGBT people and people with HIV. But we’re not done yet. This series showcases some of our proudest accomplishments in 2014, and explores some of the work that we still need to do to achieve full equality for the LGBT and HIV communities.
Here are highlights of Lambda Legal’s marriage equality work in 2014 and goals for 2015.
2014 was the most exciting year yet in the long march toward the freedom to marry for all same-sex couples.
We launched our Love Unites US national campaign for marriage early in 2014– and watched as our cases, along with those brought by our partner organizations, took the number of states in which same-sex couples could marry from 14 to 35. A majority of the U.S. population now lives in states permitting same-sex couples to marry. More than half the states now have marriage equality.
Our victories included winning marriage in Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. Three of these cases — in Indiana, Nevada and Virginia — led to circuit court decisions that brought equal marriage in multiple states, extending our impact across the country. None of this would have happened without our plaintiffs. In Indiana, we first won respect for the marriage of Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler, a courageous couple staring down cancer while fighting for equality for all. In Arizona, we won emergency recognition of the marriage of George Martinez and Fred McQuire, so that Fred could be acknowledged as George’s surviving spouse immediately after George’s death. And when South Carolina tried to ignore federal courts’ rulings requiring the state to permit same-sex couples to marry, we sued and won.
Fifteen states still exclude same-sex couples and their children from marriage. In Puerto Rico and Louisiana, we’re appealing the only two federal district court losses in the country to the First and Fifth Circuit Courts of Appeals, respectively. We also have asked the Supreme Court to take review of two cases, hoping for a high court decision striking down all marriage bans in the country by June, 2015. In one case, we’re fighting for marital recognition for same-sex spouses in Ohio after their children were denied two-parent birth certificates. In the other, we’re asking the Supreme Court to review the Louisiana district court’s ruling upholding a marriage ban now, not later – because same-sex couples and their children shouldn’t have to wait any longer.