We know all men are not created equal in the sense some people would have us believe – some people are smarter than others, some people have more opportunity because they’re born with it, some men make more money than others, some ladies make better cakes than others – some people are born gifted beyond the normal scope of most men.
But there is one way in this country in which all men are created equal – there is one human institution that makes a pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, the stupid man the equal of an Einstein, and the ignorant man the equal of any college president. That institution … is a court. It can be the Supreme Court of the United States or the humblest [lower] court in the land. . . . Our courts have their faults, but in this country our courts are the great levelers, and in our courts all men are created equal.
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird, pg. 274 (1960). Mockingbird is a timeless novel set in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama in the 1930’s. Discrimination was the norm and “separate but equal” ruled the day. Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896). The words are from a different time, yet they apply directly to the laws being challenged in this Court.
You can find the answer brief in the Tampa same sex divorce appeal at the following link: 2D14-2384 Shaw Appellee’s Answer Brief.