The Obama administration on Thursday
filed a brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to find Proposition 8,
California's gay marriage ban, in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
In the brief written by Solicitor
General Donald Verrilli Jr., the administration stops short of
calling on the court to strike down marriage bans nationwide.
“California law provides to same-sex
couples registered as domestic partners all the legal incidents of
marriage, but it nonetheless denies them the designation of marriage
allowed to their opposite-sex counterparts. Particularly in those
circumstances, the exclusion of gay and lesbian couples from marriage
does not substantially further any important governmental interest.
Proposition 8 thus violates equal protection.”
the full brief.)
As late as last week, President Barack
Obama stated that he was unsure whether a brief would be filed in the
case, known as Hollingsworth v. Perry.
NPR noted that the president made the
decision to file the brief possibly as late as Wednesday.
Attorney General Eric Holder commented
on the brief in a statement: “In our filing today in Hollingsworth
v. Perry, the government seeks to vindicate the defining
constitutional ideal of equal treatment under the law. Throughout
history, we have seen the unjust consequences of decisions and
policies rooted in discrimination. The issues before the Supreme
Court in this case and the Defense of Marriage Act case are not just
important to the tens of thousands of Americans who are being denied
equal benefits and rights under our laws, but to our Nation as a
Among those applauding the
administration is Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights
Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest gay rights advocate. Griffin is
a co-founder of the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), the
group formed specifically to support the legal challenge to Prop 8.
“In his second inaugural address last
month, the president said our journey is not complete until 'the love
we commit to one another' is equal as well. His words inspired a
nation, and his amicus brief puts them into concrete action,”
Evan Wolfson, founder and president of
Freedom to Marry, added that the administration's brief provides “the
legal roadmap, calling on the Supreme Court to uphold the
Constitution's command of equal protection under the law.”
“It is time for the justices, like
our president and the majority of Americans, to embrace the freedom
to marry and get our country on the right side of history,” he
The court will hear oral arguments in
the case later this month and is expected to deliver a ruling in