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Marriage Equality

WATCH: Absurd Defenses for Marriage Bans Headed to Supreme Court

WATCH: Absurd Defenses for Marriage Bans Headed to Supreme Court


Four states will defend their marriage bans before the U.S. Supreme Court this month, but their arguments are hard to swallow.

Obergefell-supreme-court-x633_0Photo: Fred Sainz (left) from the Human Rights Campaign, and Jim Obergefell (R), plaintiff in the case Obergefell et al vs. Hodges, speak in front of the U.S. Supreme Court March 6, 2015 in Washington, D.C.

On April 28, attorneys for Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, and Tennessee will defend their states' marriage bans before the Supreme Court. But we got a little preview of their arguments last week when they submitted their briefs.

The states never had a strong case for maintaining their bans, but the claims in their briefs are flat-out absurd. Kentucky, for example, claims that its marriage ban is not discriminatory because it applies equally to gay and straight couples. That's technically true, but straight couples aren't exactly clamoring to marry someone of the same sex. The impact of the ban is only felt by LGBT residents.

Michigan's brief claims that gay couples will be demeaned by the Court's potential finding that they're entited to equal protection. According to the state, couples should strive to have their rights validated by popular opinion instead. Tennessee claims that its marriage ban promotes responsible procreation -- somehow. And Ohio says that voters would be harmed if the Supreme Court found that they had voted for an unconstitutional law.

Answering these odd arguments on behald of the same-sex couples suing their states will be Mary Bonauto and Doug Hallward-Driemeier, both of whom are longtime advocates for LGBT equality. Bonauto, the Civil Rights Program Director at Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, is the attorney responsible for overturning the marriage ban in Massachusetts, making it the first state in the country with the freedom to marry in 2004. Bonauto also won a key early victory against the federal so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which was ultimately struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2013 in its landmark ruling in Windsor v. U.S.

Hallward-Driemeier, on the other hand has argued 14 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, and is a former Assistant U.S. Solicitor General. He has submitted hundreds of briefs to the nation's high court, and has offered pro-bono representation to several LGBT clients, according to a press release from advocacy group Freedom to Marry.

Get a preview of the arguments to be made before the Supreme Court later this month below:

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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Matt Baume