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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 3, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 14
Lawyers named to argue marriage case before SCOTUS
Section One
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Lawyers named to argue marriage case before SCOTUS

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders) attorney Mary Bonauto and former Assistant U.S. Solicitor General Douglas Hallward-Driemeier will argue for marriage equality when the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments on the issue April 28.

The pair was named March 31, after a weekend-long conference of pro-equality groups from all four states involved in the appeal to the high court.

Bonauto will argue the first question set by the Supreme Court: 'Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?'

Hallward-Driemeier will take the second question: 'Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?'

As Reuters noted in their report, 'Skirmishes often occur in consolidated cases, when multiple parties are on a side but only one lawyer gets a spot at the lectern.' The weekend summit in Michigan - one of the states involved in the appeal - was designed to prevent friction among the different pro-equality parties and agree on a legal team.

Reuters said that the pro-equality groups would not comment afterwards on the negotiations leading to the selection of Bonauto and Hallward-Driemeier.

'I'm humbled to be standing up for the petitioners from Kentucky and Michigan who seek the freedom to marry, along with the Michigan team of Carole Stanyar, Dana Nessel, Ken Mogill, and Robert Sedler, and with support from the other legal teams,' Bonauto, who is currently Civil Rights Project Director at GLAD, said after her selection.

'The road that we've all travelled to get here has been built by so many people who believe that marriage is a fundamental right. Same-sex couples should not be excluded from the joy, the security, and the full citizenship signified by that institution. I believe the Court will give us a fair hearing, and I look forward to the day when all LGBT Americans will be able to marry the person they love.'

Bonauto has been described by former Congressman Barney Frank as 'our Thurgood Marshall,' referring to the late Supreme Court Justice and NAACP attorney, who argued Brown v. Board of Education before the Supreme Court in 1954. She graduated from Hamilton College and Northeastern University Law School and is married to University of Maine Law Professor Jennifer Wriggins.

Hallward-Driemeier graduated from DePauw University, attended Oxford University, and got his law degree from Harvard Law School. After working as a federal attorney, he joined the private law firm Ropes & Gray in Washington DC, and now heads their appellate division. He was Assistant Solicitor General from 2004 through 2009.

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