Obama administration urges justices to overturn anti-gay marriage law

WASHINGTON Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:52pm EST

President Barack Obama speaks about strengthening the economy for the middle class and measures to combat gun violence during a visit to Hyde Park Academy in Chicago, Illinois February 15, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

President Barack Obama speaks about strengthening the economy for the middle class and measures to combat gun violence during a visit to Hyde Park Academy in Chicago, Illinois February 15, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration outlined its argument on Friday why the U.S. Supreme Court should strike down a federal law that defines marriage as between a man and woman.

Solicitor General Donald Verrilli filed a brief with the court saying that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, expanding on the administration's approach to the controversial 1996 law, which it has formally opposed since February 2011.

Section 3 defines marriage under federal law as being between a man and a woman.

The law denies federal benefits to same-sex married couples that are granted to married heterosexuals.

The administration's position is that the law violates the guarantee of equal protection under the law.

In the brief, Verrilli said there was a history of discrimination against gays and lesbians that required the Supreme Court to take a careful look at any law that specifically targets them as a group.

He therefore urged the court to take an approach to analyzing the law known as "heightened scrutiny," which, if adopted by the court, could make it more likely the court would find the law unconstitutional.

"The law denies to tens of thousands of same-sex couples who are legally married under state law an array of important federal benefits that are available to legally married opposite sex couples," he wrote.

The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in the case on March 27, the day after it weighs the constitutionality of a California law, Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in that state.

The administration has until Thursday to decide whether to weigh in on Proposition 8.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Peter Cooney)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (11)
HiggyUSMC wrote:
With the supreme court bought and paid for by the pretend prez. there is a good chance the marriage law will be overturned. Not because it is unConstitutional but just the opposite. The administration is unConstitutional and should be impeached. The marriage law of one man one woman goes beyond the Constitution and this country, it was endowed upon us by a force greater than any we can even conceive.

Feb 23, 2013 10:23am EST  --  Report as abuse
bobber1956 wrote:
There are A LOT more pressing matters the “president” needs to attending to than less than 2% of the population. Besides, it is his job to enforce the law, not break it or make it. FIRE THE BUM!

Feb 23, 2013 11:39am EST  --  Report as abuse
Snowpine wrote:
Forgive me if you’re not, but I’m assuming your Christian. When you see Arabs smarting off about Mohammad and dressing their women in full robe garb, then you probably have the same reaction as those of us non-Christian who see you make statements concerning Gays and God.

If anyone wants to observe an unconstitutional administration, then they should look up the former Bush group. Jeb Bush stole the election by fixing the Florida count for his brother. Dems didn’t make nearly a stink about that as birthers’ wishful thinking that Bama is foreign. Sore losers.

Feb 23, 2013 1:42pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.