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President Obama: “Let’s treat everybody fairly. Let’s treat everybody equal”

Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials Prop 8 Prop 8 trial

By Scottie Thomaston

At a press conference today, President Obama was asked questions about yesterday’s filing in the Prop 8 case in which his administration argued that California’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The Huffington Post has his comments:

“As everybody here knows, last year upon a long period of reflection, I concluded that we cannot discriminate against same-sex couples when it comes to marriage,” Obama said at a Friday press conference at the White House. “The basic principle that America is founded on — the idea that we’re all created equal — applies to everybody, regardless of sexual orientation, as well as race or gender or religion or ethnicity.”

Indeed in 2009 his administration had filed a brief in federal court making some unfortunate and discriminatory arguments against same-sex relationships in challenges to Section 3 of DOMA. Now his administration is asking for time to argue against a state marriage ban before the Supreme Court.

Regarding the fact that the Solicitor General’s brief addressed only whether the circumstances in California (and seven other states) suggest that their ban is unconstitutional, the president said that he favors eliminating bans in all states, but:

“The solicitor general in his institutional role going before the Supreme Court is obliged to answer the specific question before them,” he explained. “And the specific question presented before the court right now is whether Prop. 8 and the California law is unconstitutional.”

Ultimately, he said today:

The basic principle is: let’s treat everybody fairly. Let’s treat everybody equal,” he said. “And I think that the brief that’s been presented accurately reflects our position.”

Metro Weekly has more:

Noting progress being made on the state level, Obama said “when the Supreme Court asks, do you think that the California law, which doesn’t provide any rationale for discriminating against same-sex couples other than just the notion that, well, they’re same-sex couples, if the Supreme Court asks me or my Attorney General or Solicitor General, do we think that meets constitutional muster, I felt it was important for us to answer that question honestly — and the answer is no.”

The Court hears arguments in the case on March 26. They have not yet granted the motion for the Solicitor General to participate but it seems likely the Court will allow him time to present the government’s view.

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