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Avalanche of Amicus Briefs Urge SCOTUS To Strike Down Prop 8

Supreme Court of the United States Seal

Supreme Court of the United States Seal (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

What do Clint Eastwood, President Barack Obama, Representative Michael Huffington, former World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz and former RNC chairman Ken Mehlman have in common? They have all filed briefs challenging the constitutionality of California’s Prop 8.

Eastwood, Huffington, and 129 other Republicans all signed onto a major brief claiming that Prop 8 hurts children and families. The brief they signed on to reads, in part:

Hundreds of thousands of children being raised by same-sex couples — some married, some precluded from marrying — would benefit from the security and stability that civil marriage confers. The denial of civil marriage to same-sex couples does not mean that their children will be raised by married opposite-sex couples. Rather, the choice here is between allowing same-sex couples to marry, thereby conferring on their children the benefits of marriage, and depriving those children of married parents altogether. [...]

It is precisely because marriage is so important in producing and protecting strong and stable family structures that amici do not agree that the government can rationally promote the goal of strengthening families by denying civil marriage to same-sex couples. As British Prime Minister and Conservative Party Leader David Cameron explained, “Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other. So I don’t support gay marriage despite being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I’m a Conservative.”

Meanwhile, the Obama Administration filed their own amicus brief with the Supreme Court asking them to invalidate Prop 8 noting in there that:

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. Proposition 8 thus violates equal protection.

Meanwhile, the Kentucky Equality Federation joined with Utah Pride Center, Campaign for Southern Equality and twenty-five other organizations to file an amicus brief with the Supreme Court asking the justices to strike down a wide array of anti-gay laws including both the Defense of Marriage Act and Prop 8. The brief is being called the Red State Brief.

Former Bush Administration US Attorney and Utah Pride Attorney Brett Tolman stated that “This brief is about arguing on behalf of the millions of Americans who feel hopeless that legislation on a state level will ever advance their cause.”

KEF Vice President of Legal Jillian Hall said “It was an honor to sign alongside several other prominent equality organizations in our fellow conservative ‘red’ states. By working together as one rather than 28 individual groups, we were able to present a united front to the U.S. Supreme Court and explain why their decision not only impacts the individual cases before the bench, but everyone in the LGBTI community unable to obtain the same benefits as their heterosexual counterparts. Recognition from the highest federal court in the land as to the equality of everyone concerning marriage, regardless of sexual orientation, would be a huge leap in the fight for the citizens of our Commonwealth.”

KEF President Jordan Palmer stated “Marriage is a fundamental human right and the lack of recognition by the federal government to gay couples legally married in their home states should be unconstitutional. Section II of the Kentucky Constitution states: ‘Absolute and arbitrary power over the lives, liberty and property of freemen exists nowhere in a republic, not even in the largest majority.’ However, with the commonwealth’s 2004 constitutional amendment, gay and lesbian couples are absolutely denied civil rights by the majority.”

The brief from this coalition states that
“Because the Constitution neither knows nor tolerates classes among its citizens, gay Americans must be treated equally under the law – everywhere. This Court should affirm the fundamental rights of gay Americans and adopt heightened scrutiny to review laws targeting gay people. The best way to stop discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is for this Court to stop de jure discrimination against gay Americans.”

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