WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration wants the Supreme Court to overturn California's gay marriage ban, outlining a broad legal argument that could ultimately be applied to other state prohibitions across the country.
The administration's friend-of-the-court brief, filed Thursday evening, unequivocally calls on the justices to strike down California's Proposition 8 ballot measure, although it stops short of the soaring rhetoric on marriage equality President Barack Obama expressed in his inaugural address in January. Still, it marks the first time a U.S. president has urged the high court to expand the right of gays and lesbians to wed.
The brief is not legally binding, though the government's opinion could carry weight with the Supreme Court when it hears oral arguments on Proposition 8 in late March.
California is one of eight states that give gay couples all the benefits of marriage through civil unions or domestic partnership but don't allow them to wed. The brief argues that in granting same-sex couples those rights, California has already acknowledged that gay relationships bear the same hallmarks as straight ones.