Civil and Human Rights

On Marriage Equality, Supreme Court Takes Up Historic Test Of U.S. Constitution’s Guarantee Of ‘Equal Protection Of The Laws’

Washington, DC – On news today that the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in the case of Hollingsworth v. Perry, testing whether gay men and lesbians are entitled to marriage equality under the Constitution,  Constitutional Accountability Center issued the following reaction: 


CAC President Doug Kendall said, “The Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause applies to all ‘persons’ in this country and forbids government from denying rights to any group of persons based on prejudice. Perry will be a test for the Court’s conservatives, because Ted Olson’s arguments are based simply and powerfully on the Constitution’s broadly worded text, which plainly includes gay men and lesbians.”


CAC Civil Rights Director David Gans said, “Today’s grant tees up the fundamental question whether the Constitution’s promise of equality for all persons applies to gay men and lesbians when it comes to marriage. If the Court is faithful to the Constitution’s text and history, it will conclude that the constitutional guarantee of equal protection does not permit discriminatory marriage laws that treat gay men and lesbians as second class, inferior persons.”


As it did in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, CAC plans to file a “friend of the court” brief at the Supreme Court in Hollingsworth v. Perry, showing how the text and history of the Equal Protection Clause support the respondents’ claims to marriage equality and the historic decisions of both the District Court and the Court of Appeals striking down California’s Proposition 8.






“Perfecting the Declaration: The Text and History of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, David Gans,” Text & History Narrative, November 2011: 


“Victory for Marriage Equality and the Constitution,” News Release, February 2012: 


CAC’s “friend of the court” brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit: 


“Fundamental Right to Marry the Person of One’s Choice Protected by Equal Protection Clause, Says CAC Brief in California Marriage Equality Case,” News Release, December 2010: 


“Celebrating Loving: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Right to Marry,” David Gans, June 2011:  


“The Meaning of Equal: Conservative originalists are rethinking their narrow reading of the 14th Amendment,” Doug Kendall and David Gans, December 2011: 


Constitutional Accountability Center’s case page for Hollingsworth v. Perry:




Constitutional Accountability Center ( is a think tank, public interest law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text and history.



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