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Marriage Equality

How You Can Help Pay for National Marriage Cases

How You Can Help Pay for National Marriage Cases


These are the cases being argued before the Supreme Court and the LGBT activist groups fundraising on their behalf.


Today the Supreme Court will hear arguments on behalf of same-sex couples in cases originating in four states, potentially bringing the United States closer to nationwide marriage equality.

As one can imagine, though, not only does it take a lot of concerted time and effort to prepare a case for Supreme Court review, it also takes a substantial amount of money -- money that more often than not comes from fundraising.

Here are how the four legal cases (from Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, and Kentucky) are utilizing the power of LGBT-friendly activist organizations (some new, some already very established) to finance the fight for marriage equality on a national scale.

DeBoer v. Snyder -- National Marriage Challenge

Originally founded as the Michigan Marriage Challenge, the National Marriage Challenge is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that was founded as a way to help raise funds for the DeBoer v. Snyder lawsuit. Everything donated goes toward covering the costs associated with the case, which, according Dana Nessel (one of the pro bono attorneys on the DeBoer case), is much needed considering the humble beginnings of the once-little lawsuit now at the Supreme Court.

"It has been difficult, and there's been a learning curve," Nessel says of how DeBoer went from a small case regarding same-sex parents and adoption to one of nationwide marriage equality that's at the Supreme Court. "But I think the important thing about our case is that it wasn't intended to last four years. Our case wasn't intended to end up being one the cases utilized to hopefully strike down all bans on same-sex marriage in America. That was never what our case initially was about; it evolved into that, and everyone involved is happy that it has."

To donate to the National Marriage Challenge, visit its website.

Obergefell v. Hodges-- American Civil Liberties Union
Henry v. Hodges -- Lambda Legal

Lambda Legal, one of the country's leading LGBT legal groups, joined the Henry case in February of last year and offered its litigation services free of charge, even though the case from Ohio is now set to be argued before the highest court.

"All of our services are pro bono," says Susan Sommer, Lambda's director of constitutional litigation. "Sometimes there may be legal fees that come with civil rights victories and judgements, but we are not doing this for the fees. Taking a case from District Court all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court is quite an undertaking, and Lambda is funded by donors who are wanting to help us to help change the country."

To donate to Lambda Legal, visit its website.

Tanco v. Haslam -- National Center for Lesbian Rights

The San Francisco-based National Center for Lesbian Rights was founded in 1977, making it one of the nation's oldest and leading LGBT organizations specializing in litigation. Its attorneys represent Tennessee three couples (the likes of which include Dr. Valera Tanco and her wife, Dr. Sophie Jesty, pictured above) whom state law doesn't recognize as being lawfully married to each other. The Tennessee case dates to October 2013, when the NCLR sued the state on behalf of these three couples, challenging the ban on same-sex marriage.

To donate to NCLR, visit its website.


Bourke v. Beshear & Love v. Beshear -- American Civil Liberties Union

The American Civil Liberties Union is acting as co-counsel on Bourke v. Beshear and Love v. Beshear, challenging Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriage and the state's refusal to recognize out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples. One of the couples involved, Greg Bourke and Michael DeLeon (pictured above), have been together since the early 1980s and are raising children. The ACLU is also working on Ohio's Obergefell case.

To donate to the ACLU, visit its website.

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Raffy Ermac

Raffy is a Los Angeles native and magazine enthusiast who loves to write about pop culture, entertainment, fashion, and all things Rihanna.
Raffy is a Los Angeles native and magazine enthusiast who loves to write about pop culture, entertainment, fashion, and all things Rihanna.