One Giant Step Forward Towards Full Equality for the LGBT Community – What’s Next? » ADL Blogs
Article posted in: ADL on the Frontline, Civil Rights
June 28, 2013 5

One Giant Step Forward Towards Full Equality for the LGBT Community — What’s Next?

There is much to cel­e­brate in the Supreme Court mar­riage equal­ity deci­sions. The Anti-Defamation League filed ami­cus briefs in both U.S. v. Wind­sor and Hollingsworth v. Perry on behalf of a broad, diverse group of reli­gious orga­ni­za­tions, empha­siz­ing that there are many dif­fer­ent reli­gious views on mar­riage and that no one reli­gious under­stand­ing should be used to define mar­riage recog­ni­tion and rights under civil law.

Your rights should not depend on your ZIP code.

Your rights should not depend on your ZIP code.

ADL’s brief in the Wind­sor case began with the asser­tion that reli­gious def­i­n­i­tions of mar­riage vary, includ­ing per­spec­tives over whether or not gay and les­bian cou­ples may marry. Our brief then set out two argu­ments: (1) the Defense of Mar­riage Act (DOMA) vio­lated the estab­lish­ment clause because it was enacted with a reli­gious pur­pose, based on a par­tic­u­lar reli­gious under­stand­ing of mar­riage; and (2) DOMA vio­lated equal pro­tec­tion under the Fifth Amend­ment because it was moti­vated by moral dis­ap­proval of gay and les­bian peo­ple with­out any legit­i­mate gov­ern­ment purpose.

Our Perry brief urged the Court to reject the reli­gious and moral jus­ti­fi­ca­tions expressed by Propo­si­tion 8 pro­po­nents.  It demon­strated how, over the past quar­ter cen­tury, the Supreme Court has rejected laws dis­fa­vor­ing minor­ity groups based on moral or reli­gious dis­ap­proval alone – with one, now dis­cred­ited, excep­tion, Bow­ers v. Hard­wick. The brief looked back over time and showed how laws like slav­ery, seg­re­ga­tion, pro­hi­bi­tions on inter­ra­cial mar­riage, and laws dis­crim­i­nat­ing against women – laws that were jus­ti­fied on moral and reli­gious grounds – had ulti­mately been rejected by the Court.

ADL hailed the Court’s two deci­sions, while rec­og­niz­ing that much work remains to be done to pro­mote LGBT equal­ity.  Now that DOMA has been ruled uncon­sti­tu­tional, legal ana­lysts – and gov­ern­ment offi­cials – will be sort­ing out the range of fed­eral ben­e­fits that can now be accorded to legally-married same-sex cou­ples.  Same-sex cou­ples in Cal­i­for­nia can pre­pare for full recog­ni­tion and rights in their state. It is clear, how­ever, that, for now, the full range of ben­e­fits, priv­i­leges, and respon­si­bil­i­ties of mar­riage will con­tinue to be denied cou­ples in 37 other states.

More­over, at a time when it is still legal to fire employ­ees solely because they are les­bian, gay, or bisex­ual in 29 states – and in 33 states it is legal to fire some­one solely for being trans­gen­der — it is nec­es­sary to com­ple­ment this week’s for­ward progress with work­place dis­crim­i­na­tion pro­tec­tions, ini­tia­tives to pre­vent bias-motivated vio­lence, and pro­grams to pro­mote safe learn­ing envi­ron­ments for LGBT students.

To these ends, ADL sup­ports the Employ­ment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would expand exist­ing fed­eral employ­ment dis­crim­i­na­tion cov­er­age to include pro­tec­tion for those who are dis­crim­i­nated against based on their sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion and/or gen­der iden­tity.  ADL is a national leader in con­fronting hate vio­lence, hav­ing played a lead role in coali­tion work to enact and imple­ment the Matthew Shep­ard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Pre­ven­tion Act (HCPA). And the League has also been in the fore­front of efforts to ensure safe school envi­ron­ments for all stu­dents, regard­less of their reli­gion, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, or gen­der iden­tity, through the devel­op­ment of edu­ca­tion and train­ing pro­grams  and bul­ly­ing pre­ven­tion initiatives.

While we cel­e­brate the great step for­ward in mar­riage equal­ity, we must not lose sight of the fact that   our nation has suf­fered a major set­back to civil rights when the Supreme Court struck down a crit­i­cal part of the 1965 Vot­ing Rights Act, In this, ADL’s  100th anniver­sary year, we reded­i­cate our­selves to secur­ing, in the words of our found­ing Char­ter, “jus­tice and fair treat­ment for all.”

  • JeffB

    In Israel there is no legal civil mar­riage and for Jews all mar­riages must be per­formed by a rabbi. No rab­bis in Israel will per­form same sex mar­riage because they explain that same sex mar­riage does not exist in Jew­ish tra­di­tion and that for them to sanc­tion and per­form same sex mar­riage would not be ben­e­fi­cial to Israeli Jew­ish cul­ture and soci­ety in general.

    The ADL and other Amer­i­can Jew­ish orga­ni­za­tions who pro­mote same sex mar­riage in Amer­ica do not seem to ever express oppo­si­tion to the fact that it is not legal in Israel to per­form same sex mar­riage. It is one pol­icy for Israel and another for Chris­t­ian Euro­pean eth­nic soci­eties that we Jews have influ­ence over. And of course, any White non-Jewish per­son who calls atten­tion to this con­tra­dic­tion is labelled anti-Semitic.

    • Eli­ajo

      While I dis­agree that ADL wants every­one equal because Mus­lims are not Abe Foxman’s cup of tea. I still think you guys are despi­ca­ble because you chose to attack ADL for the good things it does.
      Unless you both have sex­ual inse­cu­rity what is it that really scares you if a man is mar­ry­ing another man. The only rea­son peo­ple object to gay mar­riage is because some in the closet gay 2000 years ago was so wor­ried peo­ple will find out he is gay that he claimed God hates gay people.

      • Eric

        You appear to be miss­ing the point.

        The ADL clearly doesn’t gen­uinely believe homo­sex­u­al­ity to be “a good thing”, since it has abso­lut­ley no inter­est in pro­mot­ing it for Israeli Cit­i­zens. Like­wise, the ADL pro­motes immi­gra­tion into West­ern nations, but even Abra­ham Fox­man him­self declares that immi­gra­tion is bad and unde­sir­able for Israel, as reported by Haaretz:

      • I have noth­ing par­tic­u­larly against gay peo­ple and I’ve cer­tainly known some won­der­ful gay indi­vid­u­als. The point I was try­ing to make is that the ADL attacks peo­ple in Amer­ica and demo­nizes them for stands that the ADL defends the right of Israelis to hold, such as oppo­si­tion to legal­iz­ing same sex mar­riages (same sex wed­dings are not legal in Israel) and in numer­ous other areas: one stan­dard for Jews in Israel and another for Chris­t­ian her­itage Euro­pean eth­nic peo­ple in Amer­ica, Europe and else­where. This tends to reflect badly on Jews in gen­eral and is seen as try­ing to pro­tect Jew­ish eth­nic and reli­gious iden­tity while work­ing to destroy Chris­t­ian her­itage Euro­pean eth­nic iden­tity, val­ues and soci­eties. Many peo­ple see that as a form of eth­nic hatred and big­otry and I have a hard time, as a Jew, dis­agree­ing with them! Amer­ica has been very gen­er­ous and good to us Jews — why is the ADL work­ing so hard to destroy the very fab­ric of tra­di­tional Amer­i­can soci­ety by pro­mot­ing val­ues and stands that the ADL opposes for Israel?

  • Eric

    Isn’t the ADL great! All they want is for every­one in the USA to be happy and to get along with every­one else, be they black, white, gay, straight, rapist, pedophile…

    The ADL is so self­less and kind! What a bless­ing they are to us!

    “What’s Next?”, the writer asks in the title. I know! Use your duel cit­i­zen­ship and get over to Israel to pro­mote some degen­er­acy there.

    Surely you wouldn’t want to deny Israeli cit­i­zens the many won­ders you kindly pro­mote in the USA for you gen­tile friends.