The Cato Institute is an American libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded as the Charles Koch Foundation in 1974 by Ed Crane, Murray Rothbard, and Charles Koch, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate Koch Industries. In July 1976, the name was changed to the Cato Institute.[peace.
INTEREST OF AMICI CURIAE1
The Cato Institute is a non-partisan public policy research foundation dedicated to advancing the principles of individual liberty, free markets, and limited government. Cato’s Center for Constitutional Studies was established in 1989 to help restore the principles of constitutional government that are the foundation of liberty. Toward those ends, Cato holds conferences and publishes books, studies, and the annual Cato Supreme Court Review
SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT
The Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause establishes a broad assurance of equality for all. It guarantees the same rights and same protection under the law for all men and women of any race, whether rich or poor, citizen or alien, gay or straight, Yick Wo. v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356, 369 (1886), and “prohibits any state legislation which has the effect of denying to any race or class, or to any individual, the equal protection of the laws.” The Civil Rights Cases, 109 U.S. 3, 31 (1883). The original meaning of the Clause “establishes equality before the law,” Cong. Globe, 39th Cong., 1st Sess. 2766 (1866), and “abolishes all class legislation in the States,” id., thereby “securing an equality of rights to all citizens of the United States, and of all persons within their jurisdiction.” Id. at 2502. Under the Fourteenth Amendment, no person may be relegated to the status of a pariah, “a stranger to [the State’s] laws.” Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620, 635 (1996). Nor may states deny to gay men or lesbians rights basic to “ordinary civic life in a free society” so as to “make them unequal to everyone else.” Id. at 631, 635. The Equal Protection Clause clearly protects against state-sponsored discrimination, “withdraw[ing] from Government the power to degrade or demean.” United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675, 2695 (2013). Ignoring the Fourteenth Amendment’s text, its history, and this Court’s precedents, the Sixth Circuit held that the Equal Protection Clause does not apply to state marriage laws because there is no evidence that “the people who adopted the Fourteenth Amendment understood it to require the 3 States to change the definition of marriage.”
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