Family Equality Council Files “Voices of Children” Amicus Brief in Historic Utah Marriage Equality Case
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"My family is no different than any other family and it makes me mad that people try to tell the courts and the judges that gay people can’t get married because they can’t raise kids [;] that is just not true. I am who I am because of my moms.”
Washington, DC, March 4, 2014 - Family Equality Council, the national organization which connects, supports, and represents the three million parents who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer in the United States and their six million children of all ages, today filed an amicus brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in the case challenging Utah’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples, Kitchen v. Herbert.
Family Equality Council previously submitted “Voices of the Children” amicus briefs in the landmark marriage cases heard by the United States Supreme Court, United States v Windsor and Hollingsworth v Perry, last spring and in two marriage cases, one of which is still pending, in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Utah “Voices of Children” amicus brief, drafted by the Denver office of Family Equality Council’s pro bono firm, Bryan Cave, brings to light the lived reality of children and young adults raised by LGBT parents in Utah. It asks the Court to recognize the unique perspective of children for whom the unavailability of marriage as an option for their parents affects their legal well-being, personal self-esteem, and sense of purpose.
“Discrimination has never made a family stronger, made a child feel safe, or created a home,” said Emily Hecht-McGowan, Director of Public Policy for Family Equality Council. “Denying same-sex couples in Utah the responsibilities, commitments, and legal ties that marriage brings only harms families.”
Hecht-McGowan said children in the brief refute claims of marriage equality opponents that extending the legal protections of marriage to same-sex couples harms children.
Among the comments in the brief:
My family is no different than any other family and it makes me mad that people try to tell the courts and the judges that gay people can’t get married because they can’t raise kids[;]that is just not true. I am who I am because of my moms… My parents –my two moms –go to work every day, like other parents. They cook dinner and mow the yard. They take care of the house. Volunteer in the community. Pay their bills. Do the thousands of little things that keep a household running. And they love me, unconditionally. But it didn’t take me long to realize that my mom and her partner didn’t have the same rights as other people. They are treated differently by the law and can’t do many of the things that other families take for granted. - Ben Farrar, Age18
Some people do not believe that I am from a loving family because my moms are gay. They are wrong. I love my moms and my moms love me and my brother unconditionally. - R.H.P., Age 12
I like having two moms. My Mama Ruth is the best mom to play games with and to read with while we cuddle. My Mama Kim is the best mom to take me to piano lessons, help me with math, and to take care of me when I am sick. - C.H.P., Age 7
The brief was filed by Family Equality Council, COLAGE, Voices For Utah Children, and the Children’s Center of Salt Lake City, and also includes the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth who will themselves be the next generation of LGBT parents.