Wednesday, August 4, 2010


We are a nation that believes that every man and women is endowed by their creator with inalienable rights and those rights are guarded and sustained by the constitution, not by government officials, not by elected officials and certainly not by ballot initiative. Our rights are fundamental, they are the birthright of every American. That's why we challenged in a court of law the flawed and unconstitutional arguments that long have been used to deny Americans their rights. That gay marriage, a love between two adults is somehow a danger to society, that how we are born, our sexual orientation, not our love or personal commitment, somehow defines a marriage and that state sponsored discrimination is somehow justified and should be institutionalized.

With respect to marriage and after a lengthy trial, a fair trial, the court rejected the false logic that has been used for so many years to rationalize that blatant discrimination. But this trial did more than expose that false logic, it embraced the fundamental American values of freedom and fairness, it upheld the notion that the greatness of this country lies in the ability of each successive generation to broaden the scope of freedom, to deepen the notion of liberty and to strengthen the very principle of justice. Today's decision affirms that under the constitution a government of the people by the people and for the people cannot discriminate against the people.

There is another powerful consequence of this decision that I hope all Americans take into account, today there are millions of gay people across the country: they are your neighbors, your friends and your family, they see how marriage strengthens the bonds of family and community and they wonder, can they ever have that same strength and stability? Or will their government continue to say that marriage is not for them? Today's decision gives gay Americans the hope and strength and comfort that they too can have a future filled with love, commitment and shared responsibility. And so today we begin the process of saying to millions of people who are made to feel ostracized, besieged, bullied and ashamed of how god made them... be who you are, love who you love, and marry who you wish to marry.

As gay and straight citizens take to the streets in celebration here in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas and New York I know there are millions who must celebrate quietly across America. Places where merely taking the hand of a loved one still feels like a revolutionary act. To those quiet millions, to the teenager in Bakersfield who aches for acceptance, to the college student in Salt Lake who only seeks liberty and equality, to the couple in Topeka who longs to openly share their commitment and love - this victory is for you. Because in ending the public sanctioning of discrimination in our law, we render unacceptable the private discrimination you must bear.

This is not the only victory needed to close that gap between the lives you lead and the lives you deserve, but it is a critical victory, one that honors the principles that define America . The principles that stirred a convention in Seneca Falls, the principles that fueled tireless marches through Selma, Birmingham and Washington DC, the principles that sparked the fires of resistance at the Stonewall Inn and the principles that inspire us in this urgent struggle to uphold the right to life, liberty, love and the pursuit of happiness. We will continue to stand up and fight for these principles, for these founding constitutional rights of all Americans until we truly are one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Chad Griffin
President- American Foundation for Equal Rights