Tuesday, March 3, 2015


From Mayor De Luca today:

Maplewood Mayor Vic De Luca and South Orange Village President Alex Torpey are among 18 New Jersey Mayors who have signed onto an amici curiae brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to rule in favor of the freedom to marry nationwide for all people. More than 200 Mayors across the nation have signed the amici curiae brief.
The case, DeBoer v. Snyder is an appeal of the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court, which held that gay and lesbian citizens, unlike other citizens, have no fundamental right to marry. The Court said marriage should be left to the “state democratic processes” and “in the hands of the state voters.”
Summary of the Brief:
Amici ask this Court to expressly hold that this fundamental right applies equally to same-sex couples and different-sex couples, it cannot be withheld by popular vote or the whims of a state legislature, and states cannot discriminatorily refuse to respect lawful marriages performed in other states. At least three grounds support this result.
First, excluding a certain class of citizens from marriage undermines the dignity and respect that government owes all its citizens. Gay and lesbian couples live in all of our communities, where they raise children, support each other in sickness and in health, combine assets, buy homes and otherwise engage in all the indicia of marriage. The stability of these family units directly benefits municipalities. Marriage lessens societal ills such as poverty, homelessness, and crime; when it is denied to a defined class of citizens, they – and their children – are more likely to need the social services that municipalities provide.
Equal treatment under the law, including the freedom to marry, is also a boon to municipalities’ local economies, which are largely reliant on the recruitment of talent and diversity in the workforce and in their population. “[D]iverse, inclusive communities that welcome gays, immigrants, artists, and free-thinking bohemians are ideal for nurturing creativity and innovation, both keys to success in the new technology.” Richard Florida & Gary Gates, The Brookings Institution, Technology and Tolerance: The Importance of Diversity to High-Technology Growth (2001). Institutional discrimination at the state level greatly impedes local governments’ ability to achieve that goal. Without marriage equality, public entities face great difficulty attracting the kind of talent that enriches their local economies, diminishing their competitiveness vis-à-vis states (or countries) that permit equal access to marriage.
Second, official recognition of marriage as a fundamental right of all citizens, including gay men and lesbians, is crucial to municipalities’ ability to treat citizens with equal dignity and respect. Long before the current momentum towards ending gay couples’ exclusion from marriage, numerous cities had already been at the forefront in enacting local laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, sometimes long before the state counterparts. Those cities have seen the benefits of treating their citizens with equal dignity and respect, a respect that must extend to their full and equal enjoyment of constitutional rights such as the freedom to marry.
Finally, marriage equality cannot have full meaning unless it is recognized uniformly across state lines. The second question before this Court – whether a state may constitutionally refuse to recognize the marriage of a same-sex couple validly married in another state – should be answered with a resounding “no.”
The right to travel is based on the premise that our country is strengthened by the freedom that we all have to move among the various states. It is hard to imagine a greater obstruction to travel than a state law declaring that a family will be dissolved upon entry into another state. Amici, who seek to attract a diverse and vibrant pool of employees, businesses and residents, have a strong interest in ensuring that such blatant constitutional violations of their citizens are not tolerated by this Court.

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