S&W's Amicus Brief on Behalf of GLMA Supports 10th Circuit Decision Overturning Utah’s Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

S&W Press Release
June 25, 2014

Boston, MA – June 25, 2014 – The United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit today affirmed the judgment in Kitchen v. Herbert that the provisions of Utah’s state constitution that prohibited same sex marriage violate the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Sullivan & Worcester filed a brief on behalf of its client and Amicus Curiae GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality (the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association) in support of this result. GLMA argued that the scientific and clinical consensus required strict scrutiny of laws that discriminate against members of the community based on innate characteristics. The 10th Circuit agreed, finding that it failed the Due Process protections afforded by the U.S. Constitution:  

"May a State of the Union constitutionally deny a citizen the benefit or protection of the laws of the State based solely upon the sex of the person that citizen chooses to marry?" the Court asked.  It answered: "Having heard and carefully considered the argument of the litigants, we conclude that, consistent with the United States Constitution, the State of Utah may not do so. We hold that the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry, establish a family, raise children, and enjoy the full protection of a state’s marital laws. A state may not deny the issuance of a marriage license to two persons, or refuse to recognize their marriage, based solely upon the sex of the persons in the marriage union."  

"This is a significant result," said partner Nicholas M. O’Donnell, who authored the brief. "The 10th Circuit has answered the important question left open by last year’s challenge to California’s Proposition 8 when the Supreme Court ruled that the challengers lacked standing. This case sets an important precedent for fairness for all members of society."

About GLMA
GLMA is the largest and oldest association of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) healthcare and health professionals of all disciplines, including physicians, nurses, physician assistants, behavioral health specialists and researchers. GLMA’s mission is to ensure equality in healthcare for LGBT individuals and healthcare professionals, using the medical and health expertise of GLMA members in public policy and advocacy, professional education, patient education and referrals, and the promotion of research.  Since 1981, GLMA’s mission has broadened to address the full range of health issues affecting LGBT people, including ensuring that all healthcare providers provide a welcoming environment to LGBT individuals and their families and are competent to address specific health disparities affecting LGBT people.  

About Sullivan & Worcester
Sullivan & Worcester is a leading corporate law firm advising clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to emerging businesses. With more than 185 lawyers in Boston, London, New York and Washington, D.C., the firm offers services in a wide range of areas, including corporate finance, banking, trade finance, securities and mutual funds, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, tax, real estate and REITs, private equity and venture capital, bankruptcy, environment and natural resources, climate change, renewable energy and water resources, regulatory law, and employment and benefits. For more information please visit www.sandw.com.

Leah Schloss
617 338 2448