Obama administration continues push for marriage equality

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The Obama administration on Thursday filed another brief at the Supreme Court in the White House’s push to urge the Supreme Court to rule that voters in California could not vote to ban same-sex marriage.

The White House said in their argument that denying gay and lesbian couples the right to marry violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause. It added that Proposition 8, the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, should be subjected to “heightened scrutiny” — a tough test for any law — and stated that “Proposition 8 fails heightened scrutiny.”

“A victory in this case, which challenges California’s discriminatory Proposition 8, would be a decisive point in this movement – one I’ve been working toward since I helped bring the case as co-founder of the American Foundation for Equal Rights. The president’s brief brings us one step closer,” said LGBT organization Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin in a statement released to their supporters.

“Last year, President Obama became our first sitting president to support full marriage equality. Today, he put that support into action. He needs to know that millions of people are with him,” he added.

The Obama Administration asked the Supreme Court to acknowledge DOMA as unconstitutional last Friday. This makes President Obama the first president in history to have a brief filed in support of gay marriage and presented in front of a Supreme Court.

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was signed back in 1996. The law bans gay marriage and excludes LGBT spouses from some rights that heterosexual couples have, including federal benefits.

DOMA “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,” US Solicitor General Donald Verrilli said in the brief written to the Supreme Court.

Republicans had arguments against the brief and want to stand their ground on defending DOMA and saying that this issue should have been argued back in 1996 when the bill was first signed.

President Obama talked about his support for gay marriage during his campaign for his second term and even mentioned his support in the fight for marriage equality, comparing it to the fight for women’s and civil rights.

“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law,” said Obama during his inaugural speech last month, “for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”

In the brief, Solicitor Verrilli also argued that this law was clearly an act of discrimination and scrutiny towards the LGBT community.

The Supreme Court will hear the case against DOMA on March 27.

** Jeanette Obaldia contributed to this report.

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