As Supreme Court weighs question, union celebrates support for marriage equality

Share This

(April 28, 2015)  As the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments today on the issue of marriage equality, OFT celebrates a long history of standing on the right side of history as a supporter of fairness and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

OFT has long had non-discrimination policies as part of its guiding principles. In 2014, OFT reaffirmed its stance for LGBT equality with a resolution specifically supporting a coalition of national and state groups partnered to fight for marriage equality, Why Marriage Matters Ohio.

Marriage has value for society, regardless of a couple’s sexual orientation, and allowing same-sex marriage is a matter of fairness and equality. Civil unions, domestic partnerships and other alternative systems don’t provide the same security and protections for partners and children that marriage provides.

Discriminatory marriage laws like the one in Ohio sanction and perpetuate discrimination and homophobia, just as earlier, anti-miscegenation laws supported and perpetuated racism and social ostracism.

Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia now recognize same-sex marriages. Understanding and support for LGBT equality has evolved over time with a majority of Americans now supporting marriage equality.

OFT's national union, the American Federation of Teachers, stated its support for marriage equality in 2004 with a resolution that can be seen here: (http://www.aft.org/resolution/marriage-equality).

“The support of the Ohio Federation of Teachers comes at a crucial time," said Why Marriage Matters Ohio's campaign manager Christopher Geggie (http://www.whymarriagemattersoh.org). "When loving, committed same-sex couples are treated as second-class citizens, it hurts everyone here in Ohio. Statistics show that 40 percent of students from LGBT families reported that they had been verbally harassed in school because of their family and 38 percent reported being verbally harassed because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation as a result of their LGBT family members. When teachers across Ohio are working hard every day to create safe, inclusive classrooms, marriage discrimination makes their jobs harder.”

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Obergefell v Hodges, a case originating in Ohio. In January, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear Obergefell along with three other cases from Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee. The arguments have been consolidated and the case has formally been named Obergefell. Since the Supreme Court ruled to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in U.S. v. Windsor in 2013, more than 80 cases have made their way through federal and state courts, with decades of efforts that make the progress of Obergefell possible.

It is time for this debate over whether to treat all Americans fairly and equally, with dignity and respect, to come to a close. We urge the U.S. Supreme Court to recognize the value of marriage equality for all people everywhere.