Washington, D.C. — The Obama administration has filed two Supreme Court briefs in support of homosexual marriage, one challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and another seeking to overturn California’s Proposition 8.
The first, which was filed one week ago today, asserted that DOMA violates the United States Constitution by denying federal benefits to any other relationship outside of a married man and woman.
“Section 3 of DOMA violates the fundamental constitutional guarantee of equal protection,” the document states, which was signed by Solicitor General Donald Verrilli. “The law denies to tens of thousands of same-sex couples who are legally married under state law an array of important federal benefits that are available to legally married opposite-sex couples. Because this discrimination cannot be justified as substantially furthering any important governmental interest, Section 3 is unconstitutional.”
The second brief, which was submitted Thursday — the deadline for filing in the Proposition 8 case, likewise contends that California’s homosexual marriage law violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.
“California’s extension of all of the substantive rights and responsibilities of marriage to gay and lesbian domestic partners particularly undermines the justifications for Proposition 8,” it states.
The brief also took issue with those who believe that marriage is meant for procreation.
“As this court has recognized, marriage is much more than a means to deal with accidental offspring,” it stated. “Petitioner’s unduly narrow conception of the institution of marriage would hardly be recognizable to most of its participants.”
As previously reported, Barack Obama had outlined in an interview with Dan Ashley of ABC affiliate KGO-TV last week that he was contemplating whether his administration should weigh in on the Supreme Court cases.
“The solicitor general is still looking at this. I have to make sure that I’m not interjecting myself too much into this process particularly when we’re not a party to the case,” Obama explained. “I can tell you, though, obviously my personal view, which is that I think that same-sex couples should have the same rights and be treated like everybody else. And that’s something that I feel very strongly about [and] my administration’s acting on wherever we can.”
The United States Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral argument in both the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8 cases next month and rule on the matter in June. The Defense of Marriage Act was signed into law by then President Bill Clinton in September 1996 after clearing the House and Senate with overwhelming support. In addition to providing a federal definition of marriage, the law bars homosexual relationships from being recognized by the IRS or the Social Security Administration, and also excludes homosexuals that serve as government workers from being recognized as a couple in order to obtain insurance benefits.
The matter surrounding Proposition 8, the second case before the court, hails back to 2008 when voters in California were presented with a ballot initiative asking if residents wished to enshrine marriage in the state as being between a man and woman. The measure, which sought to add an amendment to the state Constitution to protect the Biblical definition of marriage from infringement, passed by five percentage points.