Campus, News

BU student group to support same-sex marriage Supreme Court case

LGBTQ graduate student group Cohort Q filed an amicus curiae brief to the United States Supreme Court on March 6. PHOTO BY CHRIS PHAN/FLICKR
LGBTQ graduate student group Cohort Q filed an amicus curiae brief to the United States Supreme Court on March 6. PHOTO BY CHRIS PHAN/FLICKR

Cohort Q, the LGBTQ student organization for the Boston University Graduate School of Management, will show support for legalizing same-sex marriage in the face of a case the U.S. Supreme Court will hear in April.

The case, James Obergefell, et al., Petitioners, v. Richard Hodges, Director, Ohio Department of Health, et al., is one of four cases that Supreme Court will hear to determine the constitutionality of same-sex marriage. Cohort Q and other student groups have recognized Obergefell as the party in support of same-sex marriage.

The student group signed an amicus curiae brief on March 6 as a “friend of the court” to support the party with a similar viewpoint and to help the court make a decision, said Andrew Melzer, an attorney for Sanford Heisler Kimpel, LLP, the law firm representing the student organizations.

Allison Newman, vice president of marketing and communications for Cohort Q, said the law firm contacted them about the brief, looking to garner the support of student organizations.

“Cohort Q decided that, as an organization representative of LGBTQ graduate students, we had a responsibility to support this brief,” Newman, a second-year student in GSM, wrote in an email. “As people who will soon return to an increasingly mobile workforce, we felt strongly that the non-recognition laws limit our ability to seek meaningful employment.”

The brief cites the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which establishes the right to travel freely through the states.

Amici write to highlight how non-recognition laws amplify the preexisting discriminatory barriers LGBT individuals already face in obtaining employment, keeping their jobs and advancing in their professions,” the brief states. “Non-recognition laws … compound these already significant obstacles by limiting where validly-married same-sex couples may live, work and raise they children.”

Melzer said the case concerns students because of distinct legal argument about the right to travel.

“Whether you can bring your marriage with you and keep your marriage and family rights, would be something that would be not as covered as comprehensively and also really ties into the interest of the amicus organizations, the student groups who are just joining the work force,” he said.

While the brief specifically represents LGBTQ organizations at colleges and universities, Cohort Q joins other amici that have field briefs including clergy leaders, businesses and corporations, law enforcement officers and U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration, according to the website of Freedom to Marry, an organization that supports the right for same-sex couples to marry in the United States.

“We think this is really important. It’s a major civil rights moment,” he said. “If you’re married and going somewhere to pursue a job would mean that you’re not married, that would be a very big burden.”

Those against same-sex marriage will also have the chance to submit briefs from amici, Melzer said. The case will go to oral argument in the Supreme Court on April 28.

Newman said although there has been considerable progress surrounding LGBTQ rights, there is still plenty of work to be done.

“The willingness and enthusiasm of our fellow student organizations to support the brief shows that there is clearly a need to expunge these non-recognition laws,” she said. “We are hopeful that the research and development of such briefs will continue to shift the landscape of LGBTQ rights.”

One Comment

  1. The Court needs to rule for the rights of all adults. There is no good reason to deny that we must keep evolving until an adult, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, monogamy or polyamory, race, or religion is free to share love, sex, residence, and marriage (and any of those without the others) with any and all consenting adults. Polyamory, polygamy, open relationships are not for everyone, but they are for some. The limited same-gender freedom to marry is a great and historic step, but is NOT full marriage equality, because equality “just for some” is not equality. Let’s stand up for EVERY ADULT’S right to marry the person(s) they love. Get on the right side of history!