Eric Holder: Justice department will fight against same-sex marriage bans in Supreme Court

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US Attorney General Eric Holder has confirmed that the Department of Justice will argue in favour of striking down bans on same-sex marriage if the Supreme Court takes up a case.

Appearing on ABC’s This Week, Holder – the country’s top law official – confirmed he would throw his weight behind same-sex marriage if the Supreme Court takes one up.

Utah is currently seeking permission to appeal a ruling striking down the state’s marriage ban, with the case likely to head to the Supreme Court later this year if justices agree to hear it when the court resumes in October.

Holder confirmed that the Department of Justice’s brief in any Supreme Court case “will be in support of same-sex marriage”, and that he believes marriage to be a constitutional right for gay couples.

He noted that the brief would be “consistent with the actions that we have taken over the past couple of years”, after backing the repeal of the federal Defence of Marriage Act in the Supreme Court last year.

He added: “I think a lot of these measures that ultimately will come before the court will not survive a heightened scrutiny examination.”

Holder previously said in Februar: “In every courthouse, in every proceeding and in every place where a member of the Department of Justice stands on behalf of the United States, they will strive to ensure that same-sex marriages receive the same privileges, protections and rights as opposite-sex marriages under federal law.”