The Obama administration on Friday
urged the Supreme Court to strike down a portion of the Defense of
Marriage Act (DOMA).
In a brief filed by Solicitor General
Donald Verrilli, the administration argues that Section 3 of DOMA,
which defines marriage for federal agencies as a heterosexual union,
“Section 3 of DOMA violates the
fundamental constitutional guarantee of equal protection,” the
administration wrote. “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.”
Laws which are based on sexual
orientation should face heightened scrutiny, the standard most often
used for cases involving a claim of civil rights infringement, the
The Supreme Court next month will hear
oral arguments in the case, Windsor v. United States. An
appellate court hearing the case last year struck down DOMA for the
first time using heightened scrutiny.
The administration has made similar
arguments in the case as it wound its way to the Supreme Court.
However, the government has not said whether it will get involved in
a second case before the high court related to marriage equality. On
Wednesday, President Barack Obama said he was still weighing his
options in a challenge to Proposition 8, California's marriage ban.
reiterates gay marriage support in discussing Prop 8 case.)