Today’s Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges is a thrilling victory for the cause of equal human rights for all Americans. As Attorney General Loretta Lynch said, “Today, the Supreme Court of the United States has recognized the equality, dignity and essential humanity of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters and reaffirmed this country’s bedrock principle – engraved over the entrance to the Court itself – that all Americans are entitled to equal justice under law.” Legal Momentum is proud to have joined every individual and organization that fought to secure equal rights and equal protection for all couples. Today, we celebrate a victory for justice and stand ready to keep pushing equality forward.
This landmark ruling follows yesterday’s decisions in Texas v. Inclusive Communities and King v. Burwell—significant victories for women, particularly women of color.
In Texas Housing v. Inclusive Communities, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the Fair Housing Act as an important tool for combating not only racial segregation, but also denials of housing to victims of domestic and sexual violence. As Legal Momentum explained in the brief it co-authored with the ACLU, victims of domestic and sexual violence are frequently evicted in response to cities’ nuisance ordinances, which encourage landlords to evict victims when the domestic violence occurs.
In yesterday’s decision, the Court reaffirmed that the Fair Housing Act prohibits actions that have discriminatory effects regardless of whether they were motivated by a discriminatory purpose. Because women of color are disproportionately likely to suffer domestic and sexual violence, the decision is of particular value for them. We applaud the Court for ensuring that the Fair Housing Act will continue to be available to safeguard the safety of victims, their children and all other vulnerable communities.
Legal Momentum is equally heartened by the Court’s decision to reaffirm the availability of tax credits, a key component of the Affordable Care Act, in its King v. Burwell decision. Now, over nine million women, many of whom are women of color, can access affordable health insurance they would otherwise have gone without.
As we know all too well from our years of advocacy on behalf of women of color and their families, women of color tend to have particularly dire health care needs. On average, women of color are substantially more likely to have lower wages and to live in poverty. At the same time, they are also substantially more likely than men to have sole responsibility for children. It is no coincidence that before the ACA, women of color were nearly two to three times more likely to be uninsured. Thanks to today’s decision, they and their families can continue to have access to the coverage that they need.
About Legal Momentum
Legal Momentum is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1970 to advance the rights of women by using the power of the law and creating innovative public policy in three broad areas: economic justice, freedom from gender-based violence and equality under the law. For more information visit www.legalmomentum.org.