President Obama has until February 28 to decide whether or not to file a brief in regards to Proposition 8, a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in California.
A “Friend of the Court” brief can be filed on behalf of the administration showing support for either side.
When asked what his administration will do, Obama told KGO-TV in San Francisco “The Solicitor General is still looking at this. I have to make sure I’m not interjecting myself too much into this process, in particular when we’re not a party in the case.”
He did add that he believes same-sex couples should have the right to be treated like anyone else.
A “Friend of the Court” brief alone is unlikely to sway the Justices, but the federal government’s opinion does carry weight. Representatives on both sides of the issue have been adamant about reaching out to the Obama administration.
President of the Human Rights Campaign David Boies, who is also the lawyer arguing for same-sex marriage, and Charles Cooper, the lawyer arguing for Proposition 8, have already met with government lawyers and high-ranking officials, including the Solicitor General. Boies is urging the Obama administration to file a brief while Cooper is asking for them to refrain.
However, not all same-sex marriage advocates want a brief filed. D’ Arcy Kemnitz, Executive Director of The National LGBT Bar Association, does not think it is a good idea.
“As a former constitutional law scholar [referring to Obama], the president should know not to comment on pending litigation,” she told 429Magazine. “Right now, this matter is for the judiciary. We will have our day in court, and I hope that it is a fair day.”
The Obama Administration has yet to make a final decision.
In addition to Proposition 8, another historical case concerning same-sex marriage has made its way to the Supreme Court. The Justices will also review the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law which legally defines marriage as between a man and woman. Both cases will be ruled on later this spring.