Utah Pride releases brief filed with U.S. Supreme Court

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Representatives from Utah Pride released a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court urging the justices to strike down Proposition 8. The brief also asks the judges to dismantle all systems of legal discrimination against queer people. The Utah Pride Center joins dozens of other organizations and individuals in submitting briefs on behalf of two pending cases concerning gay rights.

In addition to ruling on the constitutionality of California’s ban on gay marriage, the U.S. Supreme Court will also review the Defense of Marriage Act, which blocks the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. Hearings for both cases begin in March.

“Because the Constitution neither knows nor tolerates classes among its citizens, gay Americans must be treated equally under the law – everywhere,” Utah Pride’s brief concludes.  “This Court should affirm the fundamental rights of gay Americans and adopt heightened scrutiny to review laws targeting gay people.  The best way to stop discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is for this Court to stop de jure discrimination against gay Americans.”

The queer rights movement is at the precipice of history and the Supreme Court has an opportunity to make a history, said Utah Pride Center Executive Director Valerie Larabee.

“This is a unique moment in our nation’s history,” Larabee said. “For too many years, LGBT people in Utah and other ‘red states’ have been nearly powerless against a legal and political system that is determined to relegate our community to second class citizen status.  From the cradle to the grave – and often beyond – Utah’s laws and similar laws in too many other states across this country attack the inherent dignity of every LGBT person.  Today, we ask the Supreme Court to step up and protect millions of LGBT Americans.  Together, we ask for the same liberty and Constitutional protections that every other citizen enjoys and in March it starts with ruling in favor of marriage equality. ”

Two prominent Utah attorneys, Paul C. Burke and Brett L. Tolman, helped author the brief asking the court to rule on the side of queer equality.

“This brief is about arguing on behalf of the millions of Americans who feel hopeless that legislation on a state level will ever advance their cause,” Tolman said.

Go to utahpridecenter.org/amicusbrief.pdf to read the brief.

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