Communities send plaintiffs and lawyers off for oral arguments at the Supreme Court
April 22, 2015
This month, on April 28, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the question of the freedom to marry in cases from four states: Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky. This momentus occasion will bring all of the plaintiffs' families into the spotlight, where lawyers will explain to the Court why marriage matters in these four states and the nation as a whole.
Before they make the journey, community members, local officials, and marriage advocates gather to see them off on their journey to Washington DC, where they will appear before the court. Plaintiffs at these events were also presented with a bound book containing messages of support from people across the country, thanking the plaintiffs for their bravery, resilience, and tenacity.
On Monday, April 20, advocates and elected state officials wished lawyers Abby Rubenfeld and Bill Harbison luck as they departed Nashville, Tennessee. Representative John Ray Clemmons and Metro Council Members Megan Barry, Scott Davis, Peter Westerholm, Burkley Allen and Lonnell Matthews were present to send the two attorneys off, as well as LGBT advocates Shaun Arroyo and Jenny Ford, and Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lisa Howe.
The next day, Tennessee Equality Project and the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Center came together in Memphis to see plaintiff couple Thom Kostura and Ijpe DeKoe and attorney Maureen Holland off, sending them well wishes.
That same day, on April 21, plaintiff couples Greg Bourke and Michael DeLeon and Jim Meade and Luke Barlowe joined Kentucky lawyers and citizens to prepare for their trip to the nation's capital to make their case for why marriage matters to them.
Jim Meade and Luke Barlowe, who were married in Iowa in 2009, remembered one of the moving moments of making their commitment to each other legal. "I was filling out the papers and when it said relationship and I wrote husband for the first time," said Luke, referencing filling out paperwork when his husband was diagnosed with cancer. "It was very touching."
But their marriage is not respected in their home state of Kentucky, and that's why they're making the trip to the Supreme Court to make their case.
Tomorrow, Friday, April 23, Cincinatti Mayor John Cranley and supporters from across the state of Ohio will see plaintiffs and lawyers from Ohio off from the steps of the City Hall building.
Freedom to Marry thanks the plaintiffs and legal teams who have given so much of their time and effort to working towards a national resolution on marriage this year.
We'll be updating this page with pictures of the events as they become available!