CFI and Secular Groups Urge Supreme Court to Overturn DOMA and Prop 8

March 25, 2013

The Center for Inquiry has always been dedicated to fostering a society in which fundamental human rights are enjoyed by all. We have therefore been staunch supporters of same-sex marriage rights, especially as opposition to marriage equality is usually based on the tenets of ancient religious texts.  

CFI has joined a diverse coalition of secular and humanist organizations, led in this case by our ally the American Humanist Association, in filing an amicus brief in two cases the U.S. Supreme Court will hear March 26 and 27. These cases challenge the constitutionality of laws that limit the marriage rights of LGBT Americans: California’s “Proposition 8,” in which a voter-initiative reversed a state court decision allowing same-sex marriage; and the federal Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), which denies federal marriage-related rights to same-sex couples who are legally married under the laws of their state, and also allows states to deny marriage benefits to same-sex couples who were legally married in other states or countries.

In both cases, religiously based denial of LGBT Americans’ basic humanity has been codified into law, betraying the secular ideals set forth in our founding documents and, in denying them the benefits of a civil institution, relegating gay and lesbian Americans to second-class status.

This battle for equality for LGBT Americans is one that CFI has been waging for many years. We have filed other amicus briefs in several jurisdictions when new cases concerning marriage equality have arisen (see more at our website’s advocacy page). Earlier this year, CFI joined the Respect for Marriage coalition, a partnership of groups dedicated to the repeal of DOMA and the promotion of same-sex marriage rights. And while it remained an ugly mark of discrimination on our military, we also worked for the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” which, thankfully, is no longer the law. Our overall case in favor of same-sex marriage rights can be read in our position paper on the subject, written by Dr. Ruth Mitchell, and the connection between marriage equality and human rights is cogently set forth in CFI president Ron Lindsay’s 2010 essay in Free Inquiry.

Here are some links related to these two cases. Stay tuned as we keep you updated on further developments.

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to both the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the Council for Secular Humanism. The mission of CFI is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. CFI‘s web address is