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Law School Student Group Signs Supreme Court Brief

By Andrew M. Duehren, Crimson Staff Writer

UPDATED: March 12, 2015, at 12:38 a.m.

A Harvard Law School student group has signed an amici curiae brief—an independent legal document to lobby the Supreme Court—that advocates for the recognition of same-sex marriages in states that do not do so currently.

Members of Lambda, an LGBTQ student group at the Law School, collectively signed the brief after Sanford Heisler Kimpel LLP, the law firm that wrote the brief, asked for the group to endorse it, according to Sean M. Cuddihy ’11, co-president of the group.

In January, the Supreme Court agreed to hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, consolidating petitions from four separate states. In combining the four separate cases, the Court said it would hear arguments on two separate questions: whether same-sex marriage is a right granted by the Fourteenth Amendment and whether the fourteenth amendment requires states that do not perform same-sex marriages to recognize same-sex marriages performed out-of-state.

The submitted brief addresses the latter question, advocating that states with constitutional bans on same-sex marriage must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, per the Fourteenth Amendment. LGBTQ groups at undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools from across the country—including Yale Law School and Stanford Law School— are listed on the brief, which argues that “non-recognition laws amplify the preexisting discriminatory barriers LGBT individuals already face already face in obtaining employment, keeping their jobs, and advancing in their professions.”

In an emailed statement, Cuddihy wrote that the “harmful effects of patchwork marriage laws on young professionals and academics” are “highly relevant to many of [Lambda’s] members.”

Cuddihy wrote that if the case comes to the question of interstate marriage—only relevant if it does not grant a constitutional right to same-sex marriage in all states—the brief provides an “innovative” treatment of the issue.

After the Court decided earlier this year to hear oral arguments on same-sex marriage, several Law School professors predicted a historic ruling in favor of a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

—Staff writer Andrew M. Duehren can be reached at andy.duehren@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @aduehren.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

CORRECTION: March 12, 2015

An earlier version of this article misspelled the name of Harvard Law School student group Lambda.

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