Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage

June 26, 2015


In a landmark case, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. The University of Michigan has experts who can offer reaction to the decision.

Richard Primus is an expert in the law, history and theory of the U.S. Constitution and a former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He’s available to discuss the opinions in Supreme Court same sex ruling.

“Today’s decision marks a bigger change in American law than anything since Brown v. Board of Education,” he said. “And like Brown, which was controversial when decided, today’s decision may soon come to be seen as no more than simply justice and common sense.”

Contact: 734-647-5543, [email protected]


Samuel Bagenstos, professor of law, specializes in constitutional and civil rights litigation. From 2009 to 2011, he was a political appointee in the U.S. Department of Justice, where he served as the principal deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights, the No. 2 official in the Civil Rights Division.

“Today’s Supreme Court decision strongly affirms the fundamental right of same-sex couples to marry, but much more work needs to be done to protect the equal rights of lesbian and gay Americans in the workplace and the marketplace,” he said.

Contact: 734-647-7584, [email protected]


Julian Davis Mortenson, professor of law, has years of LGBT rights litigation experience both as a constitutional law specialist and as a scholar. He was lead counsel in a federal case (Caspar v. Snyder) that won recognition for 300 same-sex couples in Michigan in January 2015.

“This is a historic ruling that makes marriage equality the law in all 50 states. It is a sweeping and utterly unambiguous win for LGBT rights. It settles the issue so straightforwardly that there is little uncertainty about its implementation,” he said. “It is also grounded on a secure foundation of precedent. It’s at least the third time that the Supreme Court has relied on due process and equal protection principles to strike down the exclusion of LGBT persons from basic rights of citizenship.”

Contact: 315-657-1055, [email protected]


Dana Muir, professor of business law, is a nationally recognized expert on fiduciary and remedial issues in the fields of investments and pension plan funding.

“Some companies that offer domestic partner benefits may phase those benefits out now that all employees have the option of marrying their partner,” she said. “Other employers will recognize that some employees in committed relationships choose not to marry and, in the spirit of inclusiveness, will continue to offer domestic partner benefits.

“The employers I expect to look most closely at their policies are those who offer domestic partner benefits only to same sex couples in states where marriage was not an option prior to the Supreme Court’s decision. Less than half the states prohibit private-sector employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation and the Supreme Court’s decision does not change that.”

Contact: 734-763-3091, [email protected]


Margo Schlanger, professor of law, is a leading authority on civil rights issues and constitutional law.

“A generation of advocacy, in state and federal courts and at the ballot box, have led us to an amazing day today, when we can finally celebrate nationwide marriage equality for gays and lesbians,” she said.

Contact: 202-277-2506, [email protected]


Will Sherry is interim director of the U-M Spectrum Center, an organization founded in 1971 that offers student-centered education, outreach, advocacy and support for the LGBTQ campus community.

“We are incredibly thrilled about the decision,” he said. “It supports a better climate at our university and in our state, and directly affects our ability to attract students and faculty who want to move to to a place where their families and relationships are supported. This is a huge milestone and a great opportunity to gear up for the work ahead.”

Contact: 734-763-4186, [email protected]