Rochester, N.Y. Coalition Will Address Landmark Civil Rights Cases of the U.S. Supreme Court
Rochester, N.Y. (March 24, 2013) -- This week the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on same-sex marriage, a high-stakes moment for both for American society and for the Court itself. On March 26th the Court will hear arguments on California’s Proposition 8 (Hollingsworth v. Perry) case. Shortly thereafter, the Court will review the federal Defense of Marriage Act in U.S. v. Windsor.
In response, a call to action has been spearheaded by LGBT icons Cleve Jones and David Mixner. Civil Rights advocates have coalesced into 150 nationwide vigils and events sponsored by a national coalition called “United for Marriage – Light the Way to Justice.” Supporters were urged to go to Washington, D.C. to rally at the Supreme Court Building during the hearings or produce a local event in their area.
In Rochester, N.Y., a very diverse coalition of labor, faith, business and LGBT Rights advocates will join other nationwide actions in solidarity by hosting a press conference, panel discussion and candlelight vigil.
Monday, March 25, 2013
4:30 PM: Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley, Auditorium Center, 875 E. Main Street, 1st Floor, Rochester, N.Y. 14605
Press Conference: The ERC will host a press conference to highlight the historic nature of these two civil rights cases coming before the U.S. Supreme Court. Marriage equality advocates and affected couples will share their hopes and concerns with regard to these decisions and make themselves available to media.
6:30 PM: The Gay Alliance will host a Community Forum titled, “The DOMA Decisions – Equality on the Line.” A panel of noted speakers will address the potential legal and societal ramifications of the decisions.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
4:30 PM: The Kenneth B. Keating Federal Building, 100 State Street, Rochester, N.Y. 14614
Candlelight Vigil: As the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments on California’s Proposition 8 case and shortly thereafter the U.S. v. Windsor challenge to the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Rochester area residents will coalesce at a candlelight vigil and public demonstration featuring many prominent local elected officials and dignitaries, including NYS Assemblymember Harry B. Bronson. Noted speakers will address the attendees at 4:45 PM.
Statement from NYS Assemblymember Harry B. Bronson:
“We are on the eve of a historical moment, not unlike two years ago when we passed marriage equality here in New York State, as the Supreme Court readies itself to hear the cases against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8.
It is my hope and desire that the Supreme Court adheres to one of the most important principles of our country and affirms what many Federal Courts have already said: DOMA’s treatment of one group of citizens violates the Constitution and must fall similar to the fall of such violations of civil rights of our past. Federal laws provide a safety net for married couples in the form of health care coverage, family leave, tax treatment, immigration and many other protections and responsibilities and to deny this safety net to one group of people is legally wrong –and simply morally wrong. The Constitution does not permit the Federal Government nor any State (like California’s proposition 8) to strip away from one group of citizens any freedom, including the freedom to marry.”
Bronson added, “It is more urgent than ever that we not only make that point to the Supreme Court through our demonstrations, but also we make it to the court of public opinion –which is trending on our side and on the side of full equality. The public events of this week are necessary to remind everyone in the Greater Rochester area that even though we have fought for and achieved marriage equality in New York State, our work is not done. We cannot be fully equal until the Federal government and all states recognize our marriages for what they are: the commitment of two loving, dedicated adults who want to build a family, supporting each other emotionally and financially while sharing in the benefits and the responsibilities of the union of marriage.”