Soulforce Signs on to "Friend of the Court" Brief in Massachusetts Calling Civil Unions "Separate and Unequal"

Press Release, Jan 14, 2004
For Immediate Release
Media contact: Laura Montgomery Rutt
717-278-0592

(January 14, 2004) – GLAD (Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders) and other legal experts filed “Friend of the Court” Briefs yesterday, arguing that the recent decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) granting equal marriage rights would not be satisfied with a “civil unions” bill. Soulforce signed on to the “Amici Curiae Brief of Civil Rights Leaders.”

The expert briefs were filed in response to the Massachusetts Senate’s request for an advisory opinion from the SJC as to whether a civil unions bill would satisfy the SJC’s ruling that granted equal marriage rights in the state of Massachusetts to same-gender couples in the case of Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health.

“The Amici Curiae Brief of Civil Rights Leaders” states that creating a separate status for same-sex couples is not equality, and separate is inherently unequal. The Massachusetts Constitution strictly forbids any system that creates a separate, second-class status of citizens.

“Soulforce, Inc is pleased to have signed on to this brief, written on behalf of John Lewis, one of the original speakers at the 1963 March on Washington, the Boston Bar Association, and 27 other local and national civil rights groups,” said Karen Weldin, Soulforce Director of Operations. “We look forward to the day when all people will be treated equally, with dignity and respect, and no one will be regarded as a second class citizen in a country that guarantees the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Soulforce is a national interfaith network committed to ending spiritual violence perpetuated by religious policies and teaching against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Soulforce teaches and employs the nonviolent principles of M. K. Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. to the liberation of sexual and gender minorities.

Founded in 1978, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) is New England’s leading legal rights organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status and gender identity and expression. Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) were lawyers for the seven same-sex couples who won an historic court victory on Nov. 18, 20-03, in the case of Goodridge v. Dept of Public Health which granted equal civil marriage rights in Massachusetts.

For more information on GLAD, see www.glad.org