Sunday, July 20, 2014

QUEER QUOTE: Attorney General Holder Declares DOJ Will Affirm Marriage Bans Are Unlawful

Attorney General Eric Holder has made news saying that if (really, at this point, the question is when, not if) the United States Supreme Court hears a case questioning whether a state ban on same-sex marriage violates the federal constitution, the Department of Justice will weigh in on  the side of marriage equality. This is important (and encouraging) news because the U.S. Supreme Court often wants to know what the position of the federal government is on questions of the U.S. constitution, even if a state law is under consideration.

This is what Holder said on a Sunday Talk show last week which is today's Queer Quote:
"When you have differentiations on the basis of sexual orientation they should be heightened scrutiny. That being the case, I think that a lot of these measures that will ultimately come before the Court will not survive a heightened scrutiny examination."
Holder also answered "Yes" when asked whether he thought it was unconstitutional to discriminate against same-sex couples in marriage.

I think there's really no doubt about whether marriage bans survive heightened scrutiny and there's less doubt that sexual orientation should receive heightened scrutiny. Several judges have ruled that marriage bans do not even survive rational basis review. If the Supreme Court (and the Department of Justice) took that position, that would basically end the marriage equality question once and for all.

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