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U.S. to court: California’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional


This news story was published on March 1, 2013.
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U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 (UPI) — The Obama administration Thursday told the U.S. Supreme Court California’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

The administration said the ban in California’s Proposition 8 violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection.

The government’s brief said private individuals, “committed gay and lesbian couples, seek the full benefits, obligations, and social recognition conferred by the institution of marriage. California law provides to same-sex couples registered as domestic partners all the legal incidents of marriage, but it nonetheless denies them the designation of marriage allowed to their opposite-sex counterparts.

“Particularly in those circumstances, the exclusion of gay and lesbian couples from marriage does not substantially further any important governmental interest,” the brief said. “Proposition 8 thus violates equal protection.”

In a statement, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said: “In our filing today in Hollingsworth vs. Perry, the government seeks to vindicate the defining constitutional ideal of equal treatment under the law. Throughout history, we have seen the unjust consequences of decisions and policies rooted in discrimination. The issues before the Supreme Court in this case and the [separate] Defense of Marriage Act case are not just important to the tens of thousands Americans who are being denied equal benefits and rights under our laws, but to our Nation as a whole.”

California voters approved Proposition 8, the California Marriage Protection Act, in 2008 with slightly more than 52 percent for, nearly 48 percent against. Prop 8 says in part, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

A federal judge declared Prop 8 unconstitutional and a three-judge appeals court panel in San Francisco agreed 2-1.

Argument in the U.S. Supreme Court in Hollingsworth vs. Perry is scheduled for March 26. The DOMA challenge is scheduled to be heard the next day.

California Gov. Jerry Brown, when he was state attorney general, refused to defend Prop 8. ProtectMarriage — its sponsor is a state non-profit, California Renewal — is the official proponent of the proposition and has been allowed to defend it in the Supreme Court.

Earlier this week, the California state attorney general’s office filed a brief urging the high court to strike down the ban.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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12 Responses to U.S. to court: California’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional

  1. Observer Reply Report comment

    March 1, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    First off, let’s make the issue clearer here. There are two different cases before SCOTUS; Windsor v. and Hollinigsworth v. as the article mentioned. The questions before the Court however were not made clear enough in the article.

    In Hollingsworth, the questions are: (1) Whether the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the State of California from defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman; and (2) whether petitioners have standing under Article III, § 2 of the Constitution in this case. (petitioner is Hollingsworth)

    In Windsor, the questions are: (1) Whether Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violates the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws as applied to persons of the same sex who are legally married under the laws of their State; (2) whether the Executive Branch’s agreement with the court below that DOMA is unconstitutional deprives this Court of jurisdiction to decide this case; and (3) whether the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives has Article III standing in this case.

    There is no mention of the rights of any religion to do as it sees fit within it’s sphere. That is a different concept not argued in either case before SCOTUS.

  2. Katie Reply Report comment

    March 1, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    It makes me sick that the POTUS is lobbying the SCOTUS like this. They are supposed to rule on the constitutionality of laws, not what one person wants. And I am not against gay legal unions, but I believe churches should be able to decide whether or not to perform them or allow legally married gay members. That recognizes separation of church and state.

    • Joao do Carmo Reply Report comment

      March 1, 2013 at 1:15 pm

      Religious institutions have/wll always have the autonomy to determine who it allows into its flock and who it will marry.

      • Katie Reply Report comment

        March 1, 2013 at 2:21 pm

        Not if the liberals have their way. They would love to destroy religions’ rights to do what they want within their organizations. They would force religious organizations to pay for abortions if they could. I don’t disagree limiting some of religions’ rights. I see no reason why religious conglomerates should be exempt from real estate taxes. I just think there are too many abuses. The R.E. Tax exemption should be for worshipping facilities only. This business of schools, hospitals, clinics, and all sorts of organizations having their buildings tax-exempt in the name of religion is wrong in my opinion. They already get all kinds of tax breaks because they are non-profits. In my opinion, it is unfair to we taxpayers who have to carry the financial burden that supports the infrastructure for these religious buildings. It does not give people freedom FROM religion in this country. We are forced to support it.

      • sickastupd Reply Report comment

        March 1, 2013 at 2:49 pm

        Oh come on, Katie, you know better than that. You know very well that this only applies to legal marriages. There never has been, nor will there ever be any language in their about what churches are supposed to do. They can do whatever they want.

        And as far as abortions…. are you kidding? What crawled up your butt today?

      • Katie Reply Report comment

        March 1, 2013 at 2:51 pm

        @ Sicka: Obamacare would love to force everyone to pay for abortions and you know it.

      • Joao do Carmo Reply Report comment

        March 1, 2013 at 4:04 pm

        “Not if the liberals have their way. They would love to destroy religions’ rights to do what they want within their organizations.”

        Really Katie? I might believe that the Ultra-Extremist might want this, but not the bulk of the liberals would.

        “They would force religious organizations to pay for abortions if they could.”

        Under the guise of Health Insurance, Yep.

        “I don’t disagree limiting some of religions’ rights. I see no reason why religious conglomerates should be exempt from real estate taxes. I just think there are too many abuses. The R.E. Tax exemption should be for worshipping facilities only. This business of schools, hospitals, clinics, and all sorts of organizations having their buildings tax-exempt in the name of religion is wrong in my opinion. They already get all kinds of tax breaks because they are non-profits. In my opinion, it is unfair to we taxpayers who have to carry the financial burden that supports the infrastructure for these religious buildings. It does not give people freedom FROM religion in this country. We are forced to support it.”

        Honestly I don’t know the Tax Code concerning the Real Estate of a religious institution, but will concede that [I feel] they should pay property taxes. But I could also use the same, “forced to support it” arguement about childless people paying school levy taxes.

      • sickastupd Reply Report comment

        March 1, 2013 at 4:29 pm

        Why would Obamacare “love” to “make” anybody pay for abortions? What kinda nuttiness is that? Obamacare is aimed at providing the best healthcare to the most people – it’s not about “forcing” people to do things.

        The real kicker here is that it’s the INSURANCE companies who would be doing the paying – not the churches. And insurance companies don’t mind paying for some boobs jobs and viagra, so I don’t see the crime in “making” them pay for birth control – which is what this is about – NOT abortion.

      • Katie Reply Report comment

        March 1, 2013 at 4:51 pm

        OK, so I should have said Obamacare wants everyone to have to pay for the health premiums instead of the services. Same difference and you know it. Quit splitting hairs. Insurance companies pay for the services out of the premiums. Duh.

      • sickastupd Reply Report comment

        March 1, 2013 at 6:35 pm

        And individual people pay to have insurance coverage – so what’s your point? If I pay good money to have health insurance, it damn well better cover me!

        If by “splitting hairs” you mean YOU don’t want insurance companies to cover abortion services, that’s too bad. You aren’t the boss.

        And now that we know this has NOTHING to do with churches being FORCED to do anything, I guess your spin is coming unspun!

      • Katie Reply Report comment

        March 1, 2013 at 8:14 pm

        Look, I’m not having a good brain day. I’m not totally anti-abortion. I’m not totally pro-choice. I believe people should have their rights respected and protected, but fall on the side of pro-life financially. I’m saying that Obamacare would like all employers, including religious ones, to have to cover all birth control and abortion services with their health insurance coverage. I do not think employers should have to pay for that part of the coverage if they are pro-life. We’ve been through this before. If Obamacare wants to offer birth control and abortion coverage, they can offer a separate policy for those women who can’t get it through their employers, but don’t force pro-life employers to foot the bill for something they are religiously opposed to. Now. I don’t necessarily agree with this, but I do think it is fair and a way to solve the problem. OK? I am just sick and tired of the government forcing us to do things against our will. If it keeps on with this tack, there will be no employers offering health insurance and 30-hour work weeks will be the new normal. Period.

    • LVS Reply Report comment

      March 1, 2013 at 2:41 pm

      @Katie-if you want to see a good example look at Mercy. They are supposed to be a non-profit but they have to spend all the extra money they make. That’s why they keep buying and adding all the time.