Justice Dept. Urges SCOTUS to Rule Gay Marriage Bans Unconstitutional

In Depth

In new remarks from Attorney General Eric Holder, the United States Justice Department will urge the Supreme Court to rule state bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional after Utah state officers stated that they will ask the Supreme Court to overrule a lower court that concluded gay couples can legally marry in the state.

In June a federal appeals court ruled that the state ban on gay marriage approved by Utah voters in a 2004 referendum violated the US Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection. The court stated that states cannot keep two individuals from marrying just because they happen to be of the same sex.

Should SCOTUS take up the Utah case, or any of the dozens of cases currently working their way through the court system from other similar decisions across the United States, Holder said the DOJ would file a brief claiming the executive branch agrees with the decisions of the lower court. The DOJ is keeping consistent in its actions, as it refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, and when that was struck down, immediately set about extending federal benefits to same sex couples married in a state where it was legal.

Holder said he believes both legally and personally that the same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional. He also feels that the legal argument will be obvious to the Supreme Court.

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

The Attorney-General has called gay rights “a defining civil rights challenge of our time,” and said that gay and lesbian Americans still await an “unequivocal declaration that separate is inherently unequal.”

Image via Getty.

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