Friday, March 01, 2013

Obama Administration joins fight for marriage equality at Supreme Court

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Not to be lost in Woodward-gate, Sequester-gate, and whatever other shiny objects are occupying the media's attention, this is pretty significant:

The Obama administration threw its support behind a broad claim for marriage equality on Thursday, and urged the Supreme Court to rule that voters in California were not entitled to ban same-sex marriage there.

In a forceful argument, the administration claimed that denying gay couples the right to marry violates the Constitution's equal protection clause. It said that Proposition 8, the state's ban on same-sex marriage, should be subjected to "heightened scrutiny" — a tough test for any law — and stated flatly that "Proposition 8 fails heightened scrutiny."

Yes, it's the Obama Administration, but it's also the federal government declaring marriage equality to be a constitutional right.

And even if the federal government fell short of calling on the Supreme Court to rule all bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, focusing instead on the case at hand in California (perhaps to avoid coming across as pushy and heavy-handed), it still took a major step forward in the fight for marriage equality.

It is now up to the Supreme Court to decide if it stands on the side of justice, history, and public opinion or whether it's still stuck in the divisive bigotry of the past. 

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