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.)
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,”
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
“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.)