December 11, 2012
By Scottie Thomaston
With Prop 8 and DOMA headed to the Supreme Court, the Obama administration will be in Court making arguments against Section 3 of DOMA and for a heightened level of judicial scrutiny for laws that impact gays and lesbians. At the same time, Ted Olson and David Boies will be making many of the same arguments to the Court in Perry, the Prop 8 challenge. President Obama has endorsed marriage equality personally but he has yet to comment on the Prop 8 challenge or the possibility of having marriage equality affirmed by the Supreme Court.
In the two cases, the opponents of marriage equality defend their position using the same justifications: responsible procreation, child-rearing, proceeding with caution, upholding traditional values. The Justice Department has made good arguments as to why those are not enough to uphold Section 3 of DOMA. The Obama administration could speak out on the Prop 8 case in court by filing an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in support of the plaintiffs and perhaps noting its position that laws impacting gays and lesbians warrant heightened scrutiny.
Courage Campaign has launched a petition asking President Obama to do just that.
President Obama has said same-sex marriage is fine by him, but the Supreme Court will consider a more fundamental issue than that: whether a state ban on same-sex marriage violates the guarantee of Equal Protection under the U.S. Constitution. And so it’s time for President Obama and his Department of Justice to weigh in. This is important for a few simple reasons, Adam:
#1: Ted Olson says it is(1). In comments on Friday’s decision, Olson said:
“I would hate to predict what the United States government is doing, but given the stand the president of the United States and the attorney general of the United States made with respect to marriage equality, we would certainly hope that they would participate…I think that, given the position that the government has taken in the DOMA cases and the reasoning that they have used in filing their brief would apply with great effect in our case, the Perry case, as well.”
#2: The Supreme Court listens to what the Administration says. The Supreme Court frequently asks the Administration to give its views in many different cases. Taking action could help influence the Supreme Court to “go broad” and strike down same-sex marriage bans nationwide.
#3: Doing so would help increase the level of public support for same-sex marriage. Many legal scholars say the Supreme Court never wants to get out ahead of the states. Our job as advocates is to show the Supreme Court that the public is with us. Right now, a bare majority of Americans support same-sex marriage. If the Department of Justice tells the Supreme Court it believes banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, it will make headlines nationwide and keep the numbers moving in the right direction.
On Friday, the White House and the Department of Justice refused to comment on the Administration’s views concerning Proposition 8(2). Not good enough. We need our “fierce advocate” in the White House to do right by the LGBT community, and take this simple, but hugely important, action.
Click here to add your name to our petition urging President Obama and the Department of Justice: make your voice heard on same-sex marriage as the Supreme Court prepares to consider the case of the century. We can’t afford a loss.
Thanks for all you’re doing,
Chair and Founder, Courage Campaign