NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía addresses the crowd of marriage equality supporters on the steps of the Supreme Court. Photo: Ruben Gonzalez
Those are the words carved above the entrance to the Supreme Court, and those emphasized by Janet Murguía, NCLR’s President and CEO, as we rallied to recognize the love of millions of committed couples across the country.
Today was an exciting time to be a supporter of marriage quality. Around 10:00 a.m., the first landmark marriage equality case (Hollingsworth v. Perry, also known as the Proposition 8 case) was argued before the nine justices of the Supreme Court. At stake was whether the state of California could prevent same-sex couples from marrying. The public will likely not know what the justices decide until late June.
Nevertheless, outside the court building the spirit of marriage equality supporters was high. Beginning before sunrise, hundreds of people gathered below the court steps to show their support. Joining them was Jennifer Ng’andu, NCLR Director of the Civil Rights and Health Policy Projects. Why did she come so early and direct NCLR’s policy teams to focus on this issue over the past several weeks?
But today’s argument wasn’t just about whether you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). The Proposition 8 case was about the fundamental civil rights of all people, stretching across cultures, religions, and socioeconomic groups. Ana Cruz, a native Colombian, tells us why this case matters to her and so many people in her community. Listen to her story and learn why she is so passionate about this issue.
Even DREAMers, the undocumented youth who came to this country at a young age, showed up in support of their LGBT brothers and sisters. Taking the time to lend support to an allied civil rights movement demonstrated that our rights are all connected. DREAMers like Ana Leyva showed up with her friends to ensure that marriage equality supporters were heard across the country. She reiterated why she supports her brothers and sisters in the LGBT movement and why she supports marriage equality, even though she knows her own immigration status will stop her from marrying the person she loves.
Finally, before the oral arguments were over, Janet Murguía joined Wade Henderson of The Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights on the podium to remind everyone why, last summer, NCLR’s Board of Directors unanimously supported marriage equality. Her own message was simple: familia es familia—family is family. And in the Hispanic community, where family is tremendously important, supporting marriage equality aligns with what NCLR has being doing for the past several decades: strengthening Latino families throughout this country.
Tomorrow’s oral argument on the Defense of Marriage Act will tackle the question of constitutional bans on marriage. But today it was all about the right to marry the person you love and, to that extent, to ensure equal justice under the law for all of our families, including our LGBT brothers and sisters.