President Obama’s administration has been granted the opportunity to argue to the US Supreme Court that California’s Prop 8 ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.
In an order earlier today, Supreme Court justice ruled that US Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli will be given speaking time during the oral court sessions held on March 26th 2013.
In its request for the Solicitor General to be granted the right to address the court, the US Department of Justice wrote:-
“The President and Attorney General have determined that classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to heightened scrutiny for equal protection purposes.”
“Private respondents, committed gay and lesbian couples, seek the full benefits, obligations, and social recognition conferred by the institution of marriage. 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.”
“Seven other states provide, through comprehensive domestic partnership or civil union laws, same-sex couples rights substantially similar to those available to married couples, yet still restrict marriage to opposite-sex couples.”
“[Marriage] confers a special validation of the relationship between two individuals and conveys a message to society that domestic partnerships or civil unions cannot match.”
Mr Obama, a former law professor has said that if he sat on the US Supreme Court, he would most likely rule that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional.
Last May after years of prevaricating over the issue, Mr Obama said: “I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”
The Obama administration is also participating in litigation against the Defense of Marriage Act that will be heard the following day.