Amicus Brief Filed In Doma And Prop 8 Cases Presents Voices Of Children

“It really hurts me that my family isn’t recognized by the government, it makes me feel like we aren’t seen as a family, which makes me feel insecure.”

Washington, DC – (Mar. 1, 2013) – Today Family Equality Council, representing the three million parents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) and the six million children and adults with LGBT parents, joined with allied organizations in filing an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court in the cases of United States v. Windsor, challenging Section 3 of the “Defense of Marriage Act” or DOMA and Hollingsworth v. Perry, challenging California’s Proposition 8.

Proposition 8 eliminates the freedom of gay and lesbian Californians to marry. The Court will hear oral arguments in Perry on March 26, 2013. DOMA outlaws the federal recognition of gay and lesbian couples’ marriages. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Windsor on March 27, 2013.

The amicus brief, authored by pro bono counsel at Bryan Cave LLP, elevates the voices of children and young adults raised by LGBT parents. It asks the Court to recognize the unique perspective of children for whom the unavailability of marriage as an option for their parents affects their legal well-being, personal self-esteem, and sense of purpose.

“Discrimination has never made a family stronger, made a child feel safe, or created a home,“ said Emily Hecht-McGowan, Director of Public Policy for Family Equality Council. “Denying the responsibilities, commitments, and legal ties that marriage brings only harms families.”

Hecht-McGowan said children in the brief refute claims of marriage equality opponents that extending the legal protections of marriage to same-sex couples harms children.

Among the comments included in the brief:

  • “How can they tell me that my family doesn’t count? That the relationship between my two dads that I have not only learned from and cherished, but also reaped the benefits of, isn’t acknowledged on the federal level? That the love they share isn’t deserving of the same protection and laws that a man and a woman receive?” – Ella Robinson
  • “My moms have been together for a long time, through thick and thin, and they’ve made it through the good times and the bad times together, as a team. They have shown me and the world what a lasting, loving relationship can look like. And when I think of my own wedding someday, should I be lucky enough to find a girl I want to spend the rest of my life with, I can’t imagine two better role models to base a family around than my moms. “ – Brian Arsenault
  • “Not only have my Dads physically and financially supported me throughout my childhood, but they also have supported me emotionally, spiritually, and mentally as I have transitioned into adulthood. For over forty years, my dads have been living proof that true love does exist and that perseverance through adversity helps to define who we are. They have taught me to stay true to myself, to change for no one, and to be the best me that I can be.” – Sarah Gogin

Hecht-McGowan added, “These children clearly know that their families are no less deserving of the marital protections afforded to families headed by opposite-sex couples. The attempt to eliminate marriage for same-sex couples in California and the refusal to recognize validly married couples on the federal level serves only to de-legitimize family relationships and, as a result, the children suffer.”

The brief filed by Family Equality Council, COLAGE, GLSEN, Our Family Coalition, The Center on Children and Families, and The Child Rights Project also includes the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth who will themselves be the next generation of same-sex parents.


Contact:  Steve Majors | 202.664.0079 |