Last week, Transgender Law Center joined the Respect for Marriage Coalition in sending a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking that the Department of Justice act to ensure federal respect for the marriages of same-sex couples in Arkansas, Indiana, and Wisconsin, consistent with the approach taken by the federal government in other states. Nearly 2,000 couples married in the three states in the past five months before freedom to marry rulings there were placed on hold pending appeal.
“Until the Supreme Court ends the current patchwork of discrimination and affirms the freedom to marry nationwide, lawfully married gay couples in states still discriminating will continue to need the kind of leadership we’ve seen from the Attorney General and the Obama Administration in assuring equal treatment by the federal government,” said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, one of the co-chair organizations of the Respect for Marriage Coalition. “Married couples should be treated as what they are – married – fully able to share in the federal protections and responsibilities afforded other married couples. The Respect for Marriage Coalition urges Attorney General Holder to apply that standard in these states as he has in others.”
“There is no legal reason to question the validity of these marriages,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “Each was legally performed by a clerk representing the states, in accordance with each state’s statutes and constitution. Until the issue is resolved once and for all, we ask Attorney General Holder and the Obama Administration to once again seize the mantle of leadership and ensure that lawfully married couples receive the equal treatment that they deserve.”
The letter, co-signed by more than 50 other groups that make up the Respect for Marriage Coalition, states: “There is no legal reason to question the validity of these nearly 2,000 marriages. Each was legally performed by a clerk representing the states of Arkansas, Indiana and Wisconsin, in accordance with each state’s statutes and constitution and by judicial order. … We accordingly request that the Department of Justice promptly announce that same-sex couples legally married in Arkansas, Indiana and Wisconsin will be treated as married for purposes of federal law.”
The Respect for Marriage Coalition is a partnership of more than 100 civil rights, faith, health, labor, business, legal, LGBT, student, and women’s organizations, co- chaired by Freedom to Marry and the Human Rights Campaign.
Read the full text of the letter below!