On Friday, June 26, 2015, a date already historic to those who advocate for equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community (LGBT), the United States Supreme Court handed down its 5-4 ruling in the marriage equality case Obergefell v. Hodges. The decision that everyone was waiting for was suddenly announced at 10am that day. Love wins! Suddenly, civil marriage is a right that all loving adults can now count on. Marriage Equality, which the Delaware Valley AU Chapter has been rallying for over the years, was finally the law of the land.
DVAU had been coordinating during the previous weeks with members of The Summit: Philadelphia LGBT Leaders and Activists and organizers from William Way LGBT Community Center and HRC (Human Rights Campaign) on a Decision Day rally for this ruling. We helped put the right people in connection with each other to plan the event. Nearly 500 people happily rallied on Independence Mall in Philadelphia. Many groups endorsed and attended the event, and it was an exciting and gleeful day for the supporters of equal rights, who hugged, cried, and cheered during the 2-hour rally.
DVAU President Janice Rael was photographed by dozens of people as she waved the Rainbow Pride flag with fellow activists Jay Lassiter, Trevor Powell, Wendy Forbes, Colleen Ott, Reverend Jeffrey Jordan, and others from The Summit and the LGBT community. Janice was standing behind the podium and speakers, and was closest to passersby who had questions about the marriage ruling and other LGBT issues.
Channel 6 (ABC News) interviewed Janice Rael, who got a brief word in the 11pm newscast that night. Click here to see the video and read 6ABC’s report:
Janice also was spotted in G Philly‘s PHOTOS: Decision Day Rally at Independence Mall picture essay of the Decision Day rally on June 26.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State, who had filed a brief in the Supreme Court case, was thrilled by the marriage ruling, but warned:
Supreme Court Decision On Marriage Equality Will Spur New Round Of ‘Religious Freedom’ Battles, Americans United Says
Religious Right Groups Will Seek To Undermine Historic Ruling, Asserts Church-State Watchdog
Jun 26, 2015
Americans United for Separation of Church and State welcomes today’s Supreme Court ruling extending marriage equality nationwide but cautions that it will spark a sharp backlash from the Religious Right.
The high court ruled 5-4 that it is unconstitutional for states to prohibit same-sex couples from marrying. States will also be required to recognize all legal marriage licenses issued by other states, including those given to gay couples.
“Today love and the Constitution triumphed over bigotry and religious extremism,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. “That’s a great step, but no one should expect the Religious Right and its political allies to give up. They are already working to throw up as many roadblocks as possible to prevent LGBT Americans from claiming their hard-won rights.”
Lynn said the focus will now shift to proposals to give for-profit business and even government employees a “religious freedom” right to refuse services to same-sex couples. Measures like this have already passed in some states and are pending in others.
Some Religious Right groups, Lynn noted, have vowed to defy the ruling.
“The high court did the right thing, but that doesn’t mean we’ve heard the last word on this issue,” Lynn said. “In fact, this ruling will create a new front in the ‘culture war’ as aggressive Religious Right groups seek new ways to stop the spread of equality.”
The DVAU Chapter is proud of its longstanding commitment to the local LGBT community, working side by side with The Summit and other groups to advocate for full civil rights for LGBT people. We are now on the lookout for so-called “religious freedom” bills that might infringe upon the separation of church and state. If you know of any legislation or lawsuits, email us the information at firstname.lastname@example.org.