Wednesday, March 5, 2014

PRESS RELEASE: PFLAG National Submits Amicus Brief Representing Family Voice in Utah and Oklahoma Fight for Marriage Equality

FOR RELEASE: March 5, 2013
Liz Owen |
lowen@pflag.org | (202) 657-4026

PFLAG National Submits Amicus Brief Representing Family Voice
in Utah and Oklahoma Fight for Marriage Equality
...denying loving same-sex couples access to legal marriage harms and dishonors not only the couples, but the families who love them.”
WASHINGTON – PFLAG National—the nation's largest organization for families, friends and allies united with people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)—has filed an amicus brief with the Federal Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the plaintiffs in Kitchen v. Herbert and Bishop v. Smith, the cases challenging bans on marriage equality in Utah and Oklahoma.
The stories included in the PFLAG amicus brief amplify and demonstrate that the Utah and Oklahoma prohibitions on legal marriage for same-sex couples discriminate and harm people who are gay and lesbian by treating their relationships as inferior; rather, the commitment of these couples elevates the institution of marriage, and provides much-needed legal protection and emotional stability to the children in these loving families.
“Like the brief we submitted to the Supreme Court last year in Hollingsworth v. Perry, these are the stories of PFLAG families—uniquely positioned to address and rebut the arguments made by the appellants against same sex marriage—and how their LGBT loved ones’ lack of equal rights to marriage under Utah and Oklahoma state law negatively affects everyone in a family, not just the committed couple,,” said PFLAG National Executive Director Jody M. Huckaby. “Overwhelmingly, these first-hand accounts demonstrate that the loving and legal marriages of same-sex couples reaffirms the importance of the institution: denying loving same-sex couples access to legal marriage harms and dishonors not only the couples, but the families who love them.”  
The families included in this amicus brief are:
Leslie Bohon-Bothwell and David Bohon, Oklahoma: Mother and brother of a gay man. Bohon is a veteran, and shares the experience he observed of his fellow gay and lesbian soldiers coming home before the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the basic American freedoms being denied them and his brother.
Kristy Clark, Utah: Clark shares her story of observing her son’s marriage on December 20, 2013 and what it meant to her, her husband, and their grandchildren about the commitment to marriage.
Judi Wiles, Utah: Wiles is a 73-year-old mother who shares the raw story of her pain, her family being torn apart, and her journey to affirmation after two of her three daughters came out thirty years ago. She also talks about her granddaughter’s excitement at the impending marriage of her mother and mother’s partner until a stay was granted in Utah, preventing the wedding from happening.
Janice Marcus and Allison Black, Utah: A conversation between the Utah mothers-in-law of two married men, their experiences growing up, and what their marriage has meant to their families.
Jenny Evans Martin, Oklahoma: Martin and her partner were not out professionally in Oklahoma before moving to Colorado, where they have a civil union but want marriage. Their young daughter provides a moving statement on what her mothers mean to her and why she wants them to be married.
Collette Roberts: A mother who is one half of an interracial couple, married before Loving v. Virginia, and how current laws that affect her lesbian daughter relate to her own experience in 1958.
Mike Neubecker: Supreme Court amicus brief update - A PFLAG father/grandfather shares his personal journey of acceptance and faith. This includes a moving statement from his young granddaughter on what it meant to become part of a loving family after her negative experience in foster care. Neubecker provides an update on how their family has grown and how all the children in his son’s and son-in-law’s care have structure, stability, and love...and are thriving.
Mariette Sawchuk: Supreme Court amicus brief update - A PFLAG mother’s journey to reconcile her faith and love of her twin sons when both came out as gay. She also shares what it meant to her to see the legal marriage of longtime friends following their right to be wed in California, and what their union meant to her own marriage.  
To speak with any of the PFLAG families represented in this amicus brief, please contact PFLAG National Communications Director Liz Owen.

The PFLAG National amicus brief to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals can be viewed at http://community.pflag.org/document.doc?id=822.

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Founded in 1972 with the simple act of a mother publicly supporting her gay son, PFLAG is the original family and ally organization. Made up of parents, families, friends, and allies uniting with LGBT people, PFLAG is committed to advancing equality and acceptance through its mission of support, education and advocacy. Now in its 40th year, PFLAG has more than 350 chapters and 200,000 supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities and rural areas in all 50 states. To learn more, please visit www.pflag.org.

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