Barack Obama asks Supreme Court to scrap gay marriage ban


Washington: The Barack Obama administration took another step toward institutionalizing gay marriage, formally asking the US Supreme Court to strike down a 1996 law defining marriage exclusively as a union between a man and a woman.

The request was contained in a legal brief filed Friday with the US court, whose nine justices will next month review whether or not to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which bans marriage between homosexuals.

The document marks the first time a president has endorsed same-sex marriage rights before the Supreme Court.

According to the filing, the Defense of Marriage Act “violates the fundamental constitutional guarantee of equal protection” before the law stipulated by the US Constitution.

Richard Blanco reads a poem during the presidential inauguration ceremony in Washington, DC on January 21, 2013 © AFP/File Jewel Samad

DOMA “denies to tens of thousands of same-sex couples who are legally married under state law an array of important federal benefits that are available to legally married opposite-sex couples,” read the brief signed by US Solicitor General Donald Verrilli.

The case before the Supreme Court involves Edith Windsor, a lesbian who married in Canada in 2007 but whose spouse and partner of 40 years died. She was required to pay more than $360,000 in federal estate taxes because she was not considered married under DOMA.

The White House position, however, came under fire from Republicans in the House of Representatives.

In a brief filed Friday, they insisted they have a legal right to defend the law in the Supreme Court in the absence of a defense from the executive branch.

Michelle Obama at an event co-hosted by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund on September 5, 2012 in North Carolina © AFP Brendan Smialowski

Last month, 10 US senators urged the court to uphold the act and not to recognize same-sex marriages from other states.

All of these senators had voted for the Defense of Marriage Act and in a friend-of-the-court brief, they said it was inconsistent for the Justice Department to have assured Congress the law was constitutional while it was being crafted in the mid-1990s only to raise questions now.

“The time to speak was in 1996, when Congress gave careful consideration to the need for DOMA,” they argued.

The Obama administration’s decision to challenge the law comes as little surprise. Obama has signaled on various occasions recently that he is that he is in favor of gay marriage.

During his second inaugural address last month, the president drew parallels between the struggle for gay rights and the Civil Rights movement of past decades.

“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well,” Obama said.

He also drew a parallel between several watershed struggles in US history: the landmark Seneca Falls convention in 1848; the 1960s civil rights battles; and the Stonewall riots of June 1969, which are widely seen as having launched the gay rights movement.

Obama also chose gay poet Richard Blanco to read a specially composed poem at his second inauguration.

Rinaldo Americo impersonates Barack Obama in the Gay Parade on Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana Beach on October 9, 2011 © AFP/File Vanderlei Almeida

Already during his first term in 2011, Obama abolished the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy requiring military recruits to hide their homosexuality, or risk being expelled from the service.

In 2012, he became the first sitting US president to speak out in favor of gay marriage.

This past week, the Pentagon officially extended some military benefits to same-sex partners, but said services like medical coverage would not be offered to gay troops’ spouses because of DOMA.

“One of the legal limitations to providing all benefits at this time is the Defense of Marriage Act, which is still the law of the land,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said.

About 17,000 same-sex couples in the armed forces were affected by the decision, including 5,600 active duty service members.

The effect of the DOMA law is to ban gay marriage at the federal level. After victories in several local referendums however, it is now legal in nine out of 50 US states and in Washington DC.


  1. I offered this about NBC picking on Christianity, but it also might play to the glbt discussion:
    When you are wrong, and want wrong to be right, then you must attack all the ‘Right,’ so the lies can be focused on the Right enough that people think Right is Wrong, and assume then that Wrong must be right, because they hear Right is Wrong, so much that it just makes sense. S…..O,,,,,They attack all the Rights,,, but there’s only one, so the job is easier for the ‘Wrongs’ to convince the convincible, that Right is Wrong, and the only one Wrong would be Christianity, since that is the only one under attack. .. .. .. and yadda yadda yadda, we suddenly have a whole bunch that are wrongly Right, and only one that is Wrongly Wrong, simply because the Liars Lie better than Christians, who are sworn not to tell lies …. Thus,,,, Liars “””win “”” until they die, and then find out how wrong they are, and where they are going, and as they gnash their teeth, wailing and moaning, on the trip to where they really don’t want to go, they will realize, and admit, they did err, and Right was Right all along, that being Christianity, and all them ‘Wrongs’ were and are still WRONG, but, hey, all them people who are wrong, will be with all the other people who are wrong, and they are all spending Eternity in the Wrong Place, since they are in the “”””RIGHT””””” place for the “””WRONG.””” Oooo, that was fun. I think I said that right.
    IMO, Wrong is Wrong, and God says glbt is Wrong, and I wouldn’t advise anyone to tell God that He is wrong.  

  2. Don’t let God get in the way of other peoples’ rights to happiness. It’s perfectly fine if you do, but know that not everyone believe in God, let alone the same one. A lot of people thought the nation would “be destroyed from within” when black people were freed, or when they got civil rights, or when they were allowed to love a white person. Just let people be, or at least try to understand another human being and where he/she is coming from.

    But anyways.


    • God is NOT “in our way”.  He is our Father and our salvation!  If He says perversion is sin, it’s sin.  Taking pride in sin is stupid!  The word “Sodom” is Hebrew.  It means “burning”.  Why do you think that is?  Do you have a brain to figure that out?  What’s next, taking pride in adultery, in murder?  By the way, don’t talk about civil rights!  Blacks have acted against their own best interests at every turn.  I have two great-great grandfathers who shed blood, fought in the Civil War on the Union side.  One was in Sherman’s march to the sea.  The other escaped a Confederate prison camp and hid out in a swamp, which left him sick for the rest of his days.  That isn’t enough for you.  You want to live off of my paycheck, complain about how hard you have it–  What party is it that supports the wholesale destruction of black babies thru abortion?  Wake up!  Democrats fought to keep you slaves in the 1860s, and democrats fought against your civil rights in the 1960s.  Yet just because they point across the aisle, just because they put on a slobbery “caring” act, you fall for it!  Accepting perversion is wrong.  

      •  I don’t know, you’re kind of all over the board here. The article is about marriage between two people of the same sex, so I won’t get into all the other things you wrote. But that said, same-sex marriage and equal rights are going to happen at some point whether you like it or not. Christianity will just have to adapt like it always does. We, as a human race, should always accommodate one another rather than try to make people conform to singular ideologies. That is, after all, the American way.

        Take care.

    • Do you really think you can please all of the people all of the time? Isn’t democracy supposed to be a government ruled by the majority? By the way, this particular government was founded by men who did believe in God. However, whether you believe or not has no barring on what is democratic. It seems that the majority of this democratic society does not want to endorse same sex marriages. It is interesting how the media has embraced the gay lifestyle though (regardless of what the majority thinks).  And while I do believe in equal rights for all, I don’t believe all government benefits schould be equal for all. You say “just let people be”. That’s fine as long as people don’t go against laws that are set by the majority.

      •  And I’m saying the majority will shift. Many founders believed in God, but were more Deists if anything. But your religion shouldn’t dictate the lives of others anyways, that’s a law here. Conservatives care about little government intervention and personal liberties, so I don’t get why they aren’t outraged that the government is telling people who they legally can or cannot love.

        Good stuff, a lot of hussle out there.

    • There really aren’t any “thoughts” about it needed..  The God of your fathers has spoken and that’s that.  It really is that simple.  God loves all of his creation but the people have to willingly come to Him (or they don’t), but He is clear on the result of the individuals decision.  If you would like to learn about the God of your fathers, Jesus, salvation, etc. Logos Bible study is a free new means of learning about the bible and it’s very different and effective. You can easily find it on the net.  It’s read as a literary works and it’s much easier to understand. It is a helpful tool for anyone seeking to identify their beliefs regarding God.  Blessings!

      •  Thanks for the referral – that’s kind of you. I respect and see where you’re coming from, as I myself had a Christian upbringing. Just know that not everyone has had that. I’ll just say with the nicest intentions, we should all be open-minded to differences in ideologies. We always need to try to understand one another, even if it’s not easy.

        With that, I’m done commenting. Over and out!

  3. It seems that we are on the verge of immoral sexual behavior (sin) becoming normal and accepted – even promoted by our government. Dare you say anything against it – or you will be labeled a homosexual hater – you may even be imprisoned or lose your job.  When will they realize it’s not the person but the sin they commit that is hated.

  4. Obama is basically saying, to hell with the people and God, Let this nation be destroyed from within. If Homosexuality is allowed to run rampid and unchecked, what will the next generations look like. The generations of a homosexual ends with him and even with his mate. God made it that way. Homosexuality is the same as suicide, it removes all future generations from that people. It stops with them. That is why they want your children and even you if they could. God has spoken, They just haven’t listened.