FAMILY EQUALITY COUNCIL FILES “VOICES OF CHILDREN” AMICUS BRIEF IN LANDMARK VIRGINIA MARRIAGE EQUALITY CASES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Cindi Creager, CreagerCole Communications
"I don't understand why people think the children will be harmed by moms getting married. I am an honors student at a performing arts school and my moms have always supported me in achieving my goals and love me unconditionally."
Washington, DC, April 18, 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 a friend of the court brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in the two cases challenging Virginia’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples, Bostic v. Schaefer and Harris v. Rainey.
Family Equality Council previously submitted “Voices of the Children” amicus briefs in the historic marriage cases heard by the United States Supreme Court, United States v Windsor and Hollingsworth v Perry, in the spring of 2013. It also recently filed similar briefs in the pending marriage equality cases in Nevada, Hawaii, Utah and Oklahoma.
The Virginia “Voices of Children” amicus brief, drafted by the Washington D.C. and San Francisco offices of Family Equality Council’s pro bono firm, Bryan Cave, spotlights the lived reality of children and young adults raised by LGBT parents in Virginia. It asks the Court to recognize the unique perspective of children for whom the denial of marriage as an option for their parents affects their legal well-being, personal self-esteem, and sense of purpose.
“Families in which LGBT parents are raising children are neither an oddity nor a rarity,” the brief reads. “Approximately a quarter of a million children—thousands of them in Virginia—are currently being raised by same-sex parents. When [we] talk to these children, [we] hear the same theme over and over again: their families are typical American families. Their moms and dads are raising their children to love their country, stand up for their friends, treat others the way they would like to be treated, and tell the truth. They care about the same things all parents do—hugs and homework, bedtime and bath time. They want bright, secure, and hopeful futures for their children."
Children in the brief also debunk claims of marriage equality opponents that extending the legal protections of marriage to same-sex couples harms children. Among the children's comments in the brief:
I don’t understand why people think the children will be harmed by my moms getting married. I am an honors student at a performing arts school and my moms have always supported me in achieving my goals and love me unconditionally. … Most of my friends think my moms are cool and totally normal because they are! They work and volunteer and do housework just like everyone else’s parents. - ZRC, Age 16
I don’t understand why anyone would not think that my dads should be married. If marriage is a good thing, why would anyone oppose anyone else getting married and sharing their life together. To me it seems stupid that some people can get married and others cannot. I am African-American, and I have learned in history that only fifty years ago, I could never have married a girl who is white here in Virginia. That seems odd and hateful to me.” - A.G.- A., Age 14
I am a sixteen year old Junior at Oakton High School. I sing in the OHS chorus and my church choir at Foundry United Methodist Church. I do volunteer work for the Appalachia Service Project every summer in the remote regions of Virginia and West Virginia. I do not understand how my State (the Commonwealth of Virginia) does not recognize my two dads as being married. My dads, James Abbott and Daniel Gri, have been together for 18 years. … And We are a Family. My dads have taught me [about] the importance of marriage and they always talked to me and my brother how important it is to be married. - C.G.-A., Age 16
The brief was filed by Family Equality Council and COLAGE, and also includes the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth who will themselves be the next generation of LGBT parents.