The Obama administration today put its weight behind opponents of California's ban on same-sex marriage.
The office of Attorney General Eric Holder filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, which could be weighing whether the Golden State's Proposition 8 is constitutional.
In a statement today, Holder said:
In our filing today in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the government seeks to vindicate the defining constitutional ideal of equal treatment under the law. Throughout history, we have seen the unjust consequences of decisions and policies rooted in discrimination. The issues before the Supreme Court in this case and the Defense of Marriage Act case are not just important to the tens of thousands of Americans who are being denied equal benefits and rights under our laws, but to our nation as a whole.
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The move comes a day after California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced that her office filed its own brief in support of overturning the law.
The federal brief says, in part:
The President and Attorney General have determined that classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to heightened scrutiny for equal protection purposes.
... Gay and lesbian people -- as Proposition 8 itself underscores -- are a minority group with limited power to protect themselves from adverse outcomes in the political process.
.. Proposition 8's denial of marriage to same-sex couples, particularly where California at the same time grants same-sex partners all the substantive rights of marriage, violates equal protection.