By Jeana Frazzini and David Fidanque
On the eve of the U.S. Supreme Court’s final decision day for this term, we await decisions on a pair of cases expected to have a significant impact on the movement to extend the freedom to marry to all loving, committed couples.
This is an issue both Basic Rights Oregon and ACLU have worked on for years. From the beginning of Edie Windsor’s case, the ACLU has been directly representing her in the challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act. And in the Perry case, ACLU has filed friend of the court briefs at every stage.
Basic Rights Oregon has been leading the effort to engage Oregonians—including people of all colors, faiths and ages—in conversations about the freedom to marry. And we recently launched the Oregon United for Marriage coalition effort, as we look toward a vote of the people in November 2014 that would make marriage legal for Oregon’s gay and lesbian couples.
Basic Rights Oregon and the ACLU of Oregon are united in our effort to win the freedom to marry. And we also share a deep commitment to racial justice. So while we eagerly await decisions in the Windsor and Perry cases tomorrow, our anticipation has dampened as we’ve watched the Supreme Court issue disappointing and frustrating opinions throughout the week—opinions that are setting back fundamental civil rights for many people.
This has been an incredibly tough week for communities of color, and for all of our coalition partners who care about moving civil rights forward for all Americans.
Today’s ruling on the Voting Rights Act has effectively gutted the single most important provision of that landmark law and likely will have devastating consequences for African-American voters in the south. Another case decided today weakened a key section of the Indian Child Welfare Act which was designed to protect the parental rights of Native Americans.
And yesterday’s affirmative action decision was only a temporary victory because the Supreme Court already has another affirmative action case on its docket for next year.
We are dismayed at these rulings and that a majority of the Court’s justices overrode the concerns of a broad coalition of civil rights advocates. Despite these setbacks, we remain optimistic that ’s tomorrow’s news will be more positive.
But even as we hope to celebrate a victory for marriage equality tomorrow, we should remember that any ruling that sets back civil rights for some sets back civil rights for all. Fairness means fairness for everyone.
We pledge to continue our work to achieve a broad vision for justice that ensures dignity, respect, and equal protection under the law no matter who you love, who you are, or where you’re from.
We look forward to gathering together tomorrow to demonstrate our unity as a community in light of all of these decisions. Please join us in Portland or Eugene for our “Day of Decision” rallies on Wednesday.
Jeana Frazzini is the Executive Director of Basic Rights Oregon and the Chief Petitioner for Oregon United for Marriage. David Fidanque is the Executive Director of ACLU of Oregon.