Obama Administartion may ask the Supreme Court to overturn definition of marriage in California
Gays and lesbians must be 'treated like anyone else under the law,' president says
Gay marriage advocates have long been pushing for U.S. President Barack Obama to weigh in on the Supreme Court's Proposition 8 case in California. The president expressed strong support for Homosexual partnerships being called marriages during his inaugural address. The White House has until Feb. 28 to file a "friend of the court" (Amicus) brief.
Some have interpreted Obama's call for gay rights during his Jan. 21 inaugural address was a signal that he now sees a federal role in redefining marriage.
Obama raised expectations among opponents of the Proposition 8 - which defends true marriage - when he declared in last month's inaugural address that gays and lesbians must be "treated like anyone else under the law."
The Proposition 8 ballot initiative was approved by California voters in 2008 and overturned a state Supreme Court decision which created a "right" for homosexual and lesbian couples to "marry". To date, 29 other states have constitutional amendments defending marriage as between one man and one woman, while nine states and Washington, D.C., grant a legal quivalency between homosexual and lesbian partnerships and marriage.
An Amicus brief filed by the administration is unlikely to sway the Justices. However, the federal government's opinion does carry weight with the court.
According to an official requesting anonymity, a final decision on whether to file an amicus brief has not been made.
While the Justice Department would formally make the filing, the president himself is almost certain to make the ultimate decision on whether to file.
Obama has both advocated and waffled on the idea of recognizing homosexual unions as a "marriage". As a presidential candidate in 2008, he opposed the California proposition but didn't endorse gay marriage. When he ran for re-election last year, he announced his personal support for granting equivalent legal status to homosexuals and lesbians -- but said that marriage was an issue that should be decided by the states, not the federal government.
Some have interpreted Obama's call for gay rights during his Jan. 21 inaugural address as a signal that he now sees a federal role in redefining marriage.
"Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law," Obama said during his remarks on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. "For if we are truly created equal, than surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well."
Administration officials say the president was not foreshadowing any legal action in his remarks and was simply restating his personal belief in the right of gays and lesbians.
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