Gay Marriage Bans Are Unconstitutional, DOJ Tells Supreme Court

7 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

5 Minnesota Mayors Urge SCOTUS To Support Marriage Equality.

The motion, filed by groups including the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama and the Southern Poverty Law Center, follows a decision this week by the Alabama Supreme Court to halt same-sex marriages in the state.“These facially discriminatory laws impose concrete harms on same-sex couples and send the inescapable message that same-sex couples and their children are second-class families, unworthy of the recognition and benefits that opposite-sex couples take for granted,” Solicitor General Donald Verrilli wrote in the brief.WASHINGTON — A wide spectrum of political, religious, and business groups – including the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots – filed legal briefs at the US Supreme Court on Friday urging the justices to rule in favor of same-sex marriage in the upcoming blockbuster case. Although the administration has been supportive of gay marriage, the brief marks the first time it has explicitly asked the high court to rule that bans violate the US constitution.

The filings are among more than 70 friend of the court briefs being submitted in support of same-sex couples in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, and Kentucky. The other three Minnesota mayors who signed the document were Duluth Mayor Don Ness, Falcon Heights Mayor Peter Lindstrom, and Lake Park Mayor Aaron Wittnebel. There are currently 37 states where gay marriage has been allowed to proceed, although a legal battle is ongoing in Alabama, with the state’s top court putting it on hold.

The administration’s brief completes a shift on the issue for Obama, who ran for president in 2008 as a supporter of civil unions for gay couples, but not marriage. Dozens of briefs backing gay marriage were filed ahead of Friday’s deadline, including one signed by corporations such as Google Inc, American Airlines Group Inc, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Johnson & Johnson. In the 134-page opinion, the justices also said the state ban was constitutional. “As it has done for approximately two centuries, Alabama law allows for ‘marriage’ between only one man and one woman,” the ruling read. “Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage licenses contrary to this law. Another was filed on behalf of dozens of prominent conservatives, including former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman and David Koch, one of the billionaire Koch brothers known for donating to right-leaning political causes.

When the Supreme Court considered the issue in 2013, the administration stopped short of urging nationwide legalization, instead taking a position that would have added eight new gay-marriage states. But this current crop of briefs is the largest showing so far. “It shows the extraordinary broad base of support,” Camilla Taylor of the gay rights group, Lambda Legal, told reporters in a teleconference on Friday. In addition to the Patriots professional football team, two major league baseball teams, the San Francisco Giants and the Tampa Bay Rays, also joined that brief.

The companies said that the “fractured legal landscape” with some states recognizing same-sex marriage and others banning it is harmful to employers and employees. They said the patchwork of laws imposes an economic cost on businesses of $1 billion a year – including making it harder for companies in certain states to recruit and retain the most talented employees. “My view on this is pretty simple,” he said. “I don’t think there is a legal justification for a different legal treatment of these particular relationships.” He said his brother is gay and married, and that by watching his brother and his partner interact, he had come to the conclusion that there was no moral justification for preventing same-sex marriages. “I happen to be a big believer in individual rights,” he said. “We should simply permit people who are in love to marry the people who they are in love with.” Officially, the Republican Party is opposed to same-sex marriage. Stanley McChrystal, Maine Senator Susan Collins, Illinois Senator Mark Kirk, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, investor and philanthropist Daniel Loeb, and Hewlett-Packard President and CEO Meg Whitman.

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