Obama to Court: Overturn Prop 8, Gays & Lesbians Deserve Right to Marry

Obama's friend-of-the-court brief makes him the first president to urge the Supreme Court to expand same-gender marriage rights.

The Obama Administration yesterday evening filed a friend-of-court brief that boldly urged Supreme Court justices to strike down same-gender-marriage ban Proposition 8. Living up to the promises he made in his second inaugural address for gay and lesbian equality, the action makes Barack Obama the first president to publicly urge the high court to expand LGBT rights to marriage.


"Use of a voter initiative to promote democratic self-governance cannot save a law like Proposition 8 that would otherwise violate equal protection," read the brief. "Prejudice may not, however, be the basis for differential treatment under the law."

"[Same-gender couples] establish homes and lives together, support each other financially, share the joys and burdens of raising children, and provide care through illness and comfort at the moment of death," the administration wrote.

The Obama administration's brief follows a similar pro-same-gender-marriage motion filed earlier this week by more than 200 corporations. Legal experts say that the briefs, although not legally binding, could help sway the Supreme Court ruling of the case, reports USA Today.

Theodore Boutrous, a partner in the law firm Gibson Dunn, which is representing the two same-sex couples who filed the case initially, said the administration's arguments represent "a clear path to marriage equality across the United States."

The court filing completes President Obama's self-described evolution on gay marriage and puts his administration squarely on the side of gay rights groups and the nine states where same-sex marriage is legal.

The Human Rights Campaign, a nonprofit LGBT-rights organization, hailed the President's actions. "The Obama administration has filed a historic court brief arguing that California's Proposition 8 violates the U.S. Constitution. This is a historic step forward in the civil rights battle of our generation—and shows yet again that having the most pro-equality president in history is a game-changer," reads an entry in HRC's blog.

The organization also urges gay-rights supporters to fill out this form to thank President Obama "for his bold leadership, for putting the words of his inspirational inaugural address into action, and for opposing marriage discrimination."

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the Proposition 8 case on March 26, while the Defense of Marriage Act case, a separate ban also under review for being "unconstitutional," will be argued on March 27. Rulings on both cases are expected by the end of June.

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