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When Will President Obama Tell The Supreme Court Same-Sex Couples Must Have The Right To Marry?

by David Badash on January 17, 2013

in Marriage,News,Politics

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ABC News seems to be pressuring President Obama by suggesting he should file with the Supreme Court an amicus court brief, formally opposing Proposition 8. In “What’s Your Verdict: A Right to Gay Marriage?,” ABC News reporter Ariane de Vogue notes that President Obama has never voiced an opinion on the Prop 8 case, and asks viewers if they think there is a constitutional right to marry for same-sex couples.

It’s an interesting exercise in journalism, but the facts are that, indeed, the Supreme Court has, fourteen times, stated marriage is a civil right, and the President, while never voicing an opinion on the Prop 8 case, just before the 2008 election did say he opposed the bill, as he more recently has done several times in other state marriage ballot measures.

Esteemed Prop 8 attorney Ted Olson is hoping the Obama administration will join them in formally opposing Prop 8:

“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,” Olson told the Washington Blade last month. “And I’m quite confident that if they did participate, they would support our position in this case because the denial of equal rights is subject to close scrutiny by the courts and cannot withstand that scrutiny.”

In “President Obama: Time To Evolve again On Marriage Equality,” John M. Becker last week noted, “with the Supreme Court poised to decide the fate of California’s Proposition 8 – and possibly that of dozens of similar state constitutional amendments across the country, depending on the scope of its ruling – it is time for Obama to once again stand up and speak out for marriage equality.” Becker adds, “Greg Sargent recently wrote in the Washington Post that the President must file such a brief because it could help goad the Supreme Court into ruling broadly on the constitutionality of marriage equality itself (as opposed to issuing a narrower ruling applying only in California) and prepare the public to accept a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.”

Will the President or the White House use the power of the executive branch to weigh in on Prop 8? The Supreme Court hearings for both DOMA and Prop 8 are in March — we’ll soon know.

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