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Does the Constitution require states to recognize same-sex marriage?

ADF, Heritage Foundation co-sponsor debate on upcoming US Supreme Court marriage cases
Published On: 10/18/2017

WHO: Austin R. Nimocks, Ryan T. Anderson, Roberta Kaplan, Steve Saunders, and Robert Barnes
WHAT: Debate: “Does the Constitution Require States to Recognize Same-Sex Marriage?"
WHEN: Thursday, April 23, 2015 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. EDT
WHERE: Daughters of the American Revolution Headquarters, 1776 D St. NW, O’Byrne Gallery, Washington

WASHINGTON – Alliance Defending Freedom and The Heritage Foundation are co-sponsoring a debate Thursday on whether the U.S. Constitution requires states to recognize same-sex marriage. On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges and three other marriage cases consolidated with it.

“The people of every state should remain free to affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman in their laws,” said ADF Senior Counsel Austin R. Nimocks, who will participate in the debate. Nimocks was lead counsel in defense of Virginia’s marriage laws in Bostic v. Schaefer and an attorney on the legal team that defended California’s marriage amendment in Hollingsworth v. Perry.

“The Supreme Court’s 2013 Windsor decision said that ‘states have the essential authority to define the marital relation,’ and, consistent with that, the 6th Circuit accurately concluded that the Constitution does not demand that a new view of marriage be imposed judicially on everyone,” said Nimocks. “We hope the Supreme Court will resolve this matter and uphold the freedom of the people to affirm marriage.”

ADF and the Alabama Attorney General’s Office filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this month in the marriage cases. The brief was one of more than 60 briefs filed with the high court in support of the freedom of states to affirm marriage as the union of one man and one woman in their laws.

Other participants in the debate include Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D., William E. Simon senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation and author of What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense; Roberta Kaplan, a partner in the litigation department of Paul, Weiss LLP and lead counsel for Edie Windsor at the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor; Steve Saunders, professor at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law and co-counsel with Roberta Kaplan and Dale Carpenter on an amicus brief filed at the U.S. Supreme Court in the current marriage cases; and Washington Post Supreme Court Correspondent Robert Barnes, who will serve as debate moderator.


  • Pronunciation guide: Nimocks (NIM'-ucks)

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.



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