President Barack Obama on Friday said he felt that his administration could not avoid urging the Supreme Court to strike down Proposition 8, California's gay marriage ban.

The administration waited until the last minute to file an amicus brief in the case challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8.

In its brief, the Department of Justice stopped short of calling on the court to strike down marriage bans nationwide. But its position, that such bans in states where gay couples are recognized but not allowed to marry violate equal protection, affects at least 8 other states where civil unions or domestic partnerships are legal. (Colorado is expected to legalize civil unions.)

(Related: Gay groups cheer as Obama urges Supreme Court to strike down Prop 8.)

During a press conference at the White House, Obama said he felt there was no way to avoid the case.

“I felt it was important for us to articulate what I believe and what this administration stands for,” the president said.

“What we've said is that same-sex couples are a group, a class, that deserves heightened scrutiny, that the Supreme Court needs to ask the state why it's doing it, and if the state doesn't have a good reason, then it should be struck down,” he added.

The president also made clear that he made the decision on whether the administration should become involved in the case.

“When the Supreme Court essentially called the question by taking this case about California's law, I didn't feel like that was something that this administration could avoid.”

“If the Supreme Court asks me or my attorney general or solicitor general, 'Do we think that meets constitutional muster?,' I felt it was important for us to answer that question honestly. And the answer is no.” (The video is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)