Obama files legal brief calling for equal marriage in all 50 states

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Barack Obama’s Attorney General has filed a powerful legal brief, urging the Supreme Court to strike down all bans on same-sex marriage.

The Supreme Court is set to hear opening arguments on April 28 in a case that could end up bringing same-sex marriage to all 50 states.

Departing Attorney General Eric Holder filed a brief on behalf of the White House yesterday in preparation for the case.

The 36-page brief, which is a powerful statement in favour of equality, affirms: “Petitioners have formed, and seek legal recognition of, their committed relationships for the same reasons that opposite-sex couples do.

“But their home States persist in excluding them from the “dignity and status” of civil marriage and the “far-reaching legal acknowledgment of the intimate relationship between two people” that civil marriage represents.

“In doing so, those States have burdened petitioners in every aspect of life that marriage touches, from the mundane to the profound.

The pervasive discrimination petitioners face because they cannot marry is reflected in their pleas for equal treatment: some involve a birth, others a death; some involve concerns about property, taxes, and insurance; others involve rights to visit a partner or partner’s child in the hospital.”

“These cases thus require the Court to decide whether States may deny to lesbian and gay couples—more than 700,000 families, including nearly 220,000 children—equal participation in an institution that gives legal expression and protection to “one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness.”

It continues: “A prime part of the history of our Constitution is the story of the extension of constitutional rights and protections to people once ignored or excluded.

“Here, petitioners seek the duties and responsibilities that are an essential part of married life that opposite-sex couples, and tens of thousands of same-sex couples, already enjoy.

“The laws they challenge exclude a long-mistreated class of human beings from a legal and social status of tremendous import.

“Those laws are not adequately justified by any of the advanced rationales. They are accordingly incompatible with the Constitution.”