Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Two Attorneys Involved with SCOTUS Gay Marriage Cases Are UCC Members

Back in July 2005, the General Synod of the United Church of Christ overwhelmingly passed a resolution affirming equal marriage rights for couples regardless of gender (i.e., gay marriage, as well as traditional heterosexual marriage). The resolution affirmed marriage equality both in the church and under the law.

So it's not surprising to learn that two of the attorneys involved with the legal argument in favor of equal marriage rights in front of the U.S. Supreme Court have UCC connections:
Marriage-equality supporters throughout the United States continue to revel in the U.S. Supreme Court's June decision that legalized gay marriage in all 50 states. But before the victory came the oral arguments, delivered by teams of lawyers and legal experts representing not just the case plaintiffs, but members of the LGBTQ community everywhere. On the 10th anniversary of the United Church of Christ becoming the first mainline denomination to affirm marriage rights for all, it's serendipitous that two of the lawyers involved with the Supreme Court hearing, Douglas Hallward-Driemeier and Mary Bonauto, belong to the UCC, the church where God is still speaking...

There were four cases from each of the four states in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee), which were consolidated before the Supreme Court as Obergefell v. Hodges

Hallward-Driemeier, a member of Westmoreland Congregational UCC in Bethesda, Md., was involved with the case out of Tennessee, Tanco v. Haslam, representing couples who were married in their home states before moving to Tennessee. On behalf of plaintiffs in all four states who had been married outside their home states, he also argued that a state could not deny recognition of the marriage of a same-sex couple who had been lawfully married in another state. Hallward-Driemeier was asked to be a part of the case by a former colleague and law school friend, who was a core member of the Tanco legal team and also a representative from the National Center for Lesbian Rights...

Bonauto, a member of Woodfords Congregational Church UCC in Portland, Maine, was one of three attorneys arguing on behalf of the plaintiffs from Michigan and Kentucky about whether the Constitution requires states to allow same-sex couples to marry. Bonauto was part of the legal team in the 2013 Michigan case, DeBoer v. Snyder, on the issue of child outcomes when children are raised by same-sex parents. Her team won that case, but the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision, setting up the Supreme Court review. 
It's always fun for me to see members of my own denomination involved with historic achievements!

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