Locals pitch in with Supreme Court briefs
by Jen Colletta
Mar 28, 2013 | 653 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
<B>PHILLY PROUD:</b> Despite the freezing rain March 25, about 125 supporters donned their red and rainbows for a vigil at the federal courthouse on Market Street, which included speakers such as out state Rep. Brian Sims (above). <i>Photos: Scott A. Drake</i>
PHILLY PROUD: Despite the freezing rain March 25, about 125 supporters donned their red and rainbows for a vigil at the federal courthouse on Market Street, which included speakers such as out state Rep. Brian Sims (above). Photos: Scott A. Drake
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Before the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week on two landmark same-sex marriage cases, it had the opportunity to review friend-of-the-court briefs from a sea of marriage-equality proponents, including several with local ties.

Among the amicus briefs for Hollingsworth v. Perry — the case that challenges California’s Proposition 8 — were filings from Garden State Equality, New Jersey’s statewide LGBT-rights group. A group of conservative political leaders also filed a pro-LGBT amicus brief for the case, which included signatories former Republican Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge and former Republican New Jersey Gov. Christie Todd Whitman.

And last week, a coalition of more than 40 sports leaders submitted a filing urging the Supreme Court to uphold a lower court ruling that found that the voter-initiated Prop. 8 that overturned the state’s marriage-equality law was unconstitutional. That group included Philadelphia Eagle Connor Barwin and former La Salle University point guard Cheryl Reeve, now the head coach of WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx.

In U.S. v. Windsor, which challenges the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, the law that prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, amicus briefs included one by four constitutional-law professors, including University of Pennsylvania law professor Amy Wax, who collectively argued that the Court has jurisdiction to decide DOMA’s constitutionality.

More than 200 members of U.S. Congress, including 40 Senate and 172 House members, filed a brief urging the court to overturn DOMA. That coalition included Democratic Congressmembers from Pennsylvania Bob Brady (First Dist.), Matthew Cartwright (17th Dist.), Michael Doyle (14th Dist.), Chaka Fattah (Second Dist.) and Allyson Schwartz (13th Dist.). Neither Sens. Bob Casey nor Pat Toomey signed on to the brief.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on both matters by late June.

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