Obama: 'No Rationale' Against Marriage Equality

By Trudy Ring

Originally published on Advocate.com March 01 2013 3:23 PM ET

With deadlines yesterday and today for filing friend-of-the-court briefs in the Supreme Court cases that may strike down Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, respectively, equality supporters are weighing in from many corners.

At a news conference today, President Obama said he sees no justification for any state to ban same-sex marriage. “If I were on the court, that would probably be the view that I’d put forward,” he said, according to the Associated Press.

The Obama administration filed a brief yesterday urging the high court to strike down Prop. 8, the voter-approved initiative that rescinded marriage equality in California. He said the filing was his decision; the administration is not a party to the case, so it did not have to intervene. “I didn’t feel like that was something that this administration could avoid,” he said. “I felt it was important for us to articulate what I believe and what this administration stands for.” The brief, he said, addresses only the California law because that is the question before the court, but he opposes same-sex-marriage bans in all states.

Prop. 8, he added, “doesn’t provide any rationale for discriminating against same-sex couples other than just the notion, ‘Well, they’re same-sex couples.’”

Also today, the U.S. solicitor general filed a request to argue the case against Prop. 8 along with Ted Olson and David Boies, the lawyers representing the couples challenging the law.

Also filing an anti-Prop. 8 brief yesterday were two pro football players who have spoken out for marriage equality: Chris Kluwe of the Minnesota Vikings and Brendon Ayanbadejo of the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. “This is a very big decision that the Supreme Court is going to make on the future of gay rights in this country,” Kluwe told Minneapolis TV station WCCO. “Brendon felt the same way — that as athletes, we have a fairly unique voice in society. It’s something that we can make a difference for people.”

On today’s deadline for briefs in the DOMA case, 212 members of Congress — 172 representatives and 40 senators — filed one urging the Supreme Court to void section 3 of the law, which prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages from any state. “We all agree that Section 3 of DOMA — which divides married couples into two classes and denies all federal responsibilities and rights to one of them — lacks a rational connection to any legitimate federal purpose, and is therefore unconstitutional,” the brief reads.

Those signing the brief are all Democrats. Congressional Republican leaders are defending DOMA because the Obama administration has declined to do so, as it considers the law unconstitutional. Yesterday a group of 131 prominent Republicans filed an anti–Prop. 8 brief; the number includes two current members of Congress, Richard L. Hanna of New York and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida.

Also filing anti-DOMA briefs today were the LGBT military group Outserve–SLDN and a group of labor organizations including the AFL-CIO. Check back for updates, as more briefs are expected as the day goes on.