Professor Colin Starger is a signatory to an amicus brief filed in the Obergefell litigation before the U.S. Supreme Court. Written primarily by Aderson Bellegarde François (Howard University) and Peggy Cooper Davis (NYU), the brief makes the historical argument that guaranteeing rights of family recognition was a driving purpose of the 14th Amendment, to rectify the horrors of “natal alienation” during slavery. The brief thus makes a historical argument for marriage equality based on the idea that marriage is one of our most important civil rights, Starger says.
The brief reads in part:
“As students and heirs of antislavery traditions, we argue that unjustified denials of the right of family recognition violate the privileges we hold under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Citizenship Clause and the Liberty we are guaranteed under its Due Process Clause.
“We embrace, but do not repeat here, Petitioners’ argument that to deny recognition of same sex marriages is to deny the equal protection of the laws. Similarly, we embrace, but do not repeat here, Petitioners’ argument that there is no legitimate justification for denying same-sex marriage recognition. Our focus is on the constitutional need to give skeptical scrutiny to a state’s failure to honor a couple’s commitment to marry.”
Read the brief here.