President Obama has said that if he sat on the US Supreme Court, he would most likely rule that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional.
The US Justice Department filed a brief on Thursday with the Supreme Court urging the nine justices to overturn Proposition 8, California’s voter-approved ban on equal marriage.
The Supreme Court is due on 26 March to take up the case of whether to overturn the 2008 law.
At a press conference on Friday, President Obama said he felt compelled to weigh in on the case after declaring last year his personal belief that gay people should be allowed to marry.
“I didn’t feel like that was something that this administration could avoid,” he said of his decision to intervene. “I felt it was important for us to articulate what I believe and what this administration stands for.”
The president, a former constitutional law professor, explained that although the White House’s brief only asks the court to strike down California’s equal marriage ban, it’s likely that dozens of other equal marriage bans in other states could be struck down as well.
“The court may decide that if it doesn’t apply in this case it probably doesn’t apply in any case,” President Obama said. “If I were on the court, that would be the view I’d put forward.”
In a similar filing made last month, the White House urged the Supreme Court to strike down the Defence of Marriage Act, also saying courts considering laws targeting gay people should do so with extra scrutiny, and calling it unconstitutional.
Yesterday, movie veteran actor Clint Eastwood joined over 100 top Republicans in calling on the Supreme Court to overturn Proposition 8.