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March 8, 2013

Obama, 13 states ask court to strike Prop. 8

Washington, D.C.--At least 45 pro-marriage briefs have been filed with the Supreme Court in support of the challenge to California’s Proposition 8, according to a release from San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s office.

Among these are the White House, the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont and Washington, along with Washington, D.C. and a separate brief from the state of California.

Companies including Morgan Stanley, Apple, AIG, Nike, Facebook, Intel, Verizon, Google and others filed a brief explaining how Prop. 8 negatively affects their employees and clients.

A group of prominent conservatives led by out former Republican Party chair Ken Mehlman also filed an amicus brief asserting that same-sex marriage furthers the conservative values of mutual obligation and support. Among them were six Romney campaign advisors. As of this past weekend, 131 people had signed Mehlman’s brief.

NFL players Chris Kluwe and Brendon Ayanbadejo, who both expressed their support for same-sex marriage during the past season, also filed a brief with the high court.

Over 200 members of Congress signed a brief in the case United States v. Windsor, which challenges the federal Defense of Marriage Act. All of them were Democrats, including all of Ohio’s Democratic Congressional delegation. No Republicans signed, and 13 Democratic senators and 32 representatives declined to sign. Four of the 45 are cosponsors of bills to repeal DOMA, and another said that an email glitch caused his name to not appear on the brief.

The Obama administration has already refused to defend DOMA in court, and its brief in the Prop. 8 case asked for same-sex marriage to be mandated in eight states that have civil unions or domestic partnerships, which it refers to as a case of separate but equal. California, for instance, grants all of the state rights, benefits and responsibilities of marriage, but without the name. The name brings societal acceptance, which is the only benefit that cannot be granted.

The brief does not endorse a nationwide right to same-sex marriage, but could provide a way to increase the number of states offering marriage from nine to 17. The stance supports same-sex marriage while also allowing states that have no protections for same-sex couples to continue to discriminate against them.

President Barack Obama is said to have been personally involved in the decision to file the brief, believing that it was a natural step after his stated support for same-sex marriage.

Oral arguments for the Prop. 8 and DOMA cases are scheduled for March 26 and 27.

DOMA is being defended by private attorneys hired by the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, a House of Representatives body with a Republican majority that voted along party lines to spend taxpayer money to defend the law when the Obama administration would not.

Prop. 8 is being defended by attorneys for the group that originally put it on the ballot, since the governor and attorney general of California both refused to defend it in court.

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