Metro Weekly

Congressional Democrats urge Supreme Court to rule in favor of marriage equality

Photo: U.S. Supreme Court. Credit: Ian Koski/flickr.

Photo: U.S. Supreme Court. Credit: Ian Koski/flickr.

More than 200 Democratic members of Congress urged the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down state bans on same-sex marriage in a brief filed with the high court Friday.

A total of 167 members of the House of Representatives and 44 members of the Senate signed on to the brief, which was led by Democratic leaders in both chambers. 

“As federal legislators who represent families across this nation, we believe that—like DOMA—state marriage bans deny our citizens the equal protection that the Constitution guarantees. We urge the Court to make the Constitution’s promise of equality a reality for gay and lesbian couples throughout the nation,” the brief stated.

The “friend of the court” brief was led by Reps. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) in the House and Sens. Harry Reid (Nev.) and Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) in the Senate.

Congressional Democrats filed a similar brief two years ago in the case challenging the Defense of Marriage Act, but did not file a brief in the Proposition 8 case. 

“Regardless of where we come from in this nation, we all recognize the importance of the federal-state partnership in safeguarding American families,” the brief states. “This partnership is strongest when families are not wrongly excluded from the vast array of marriage-based rights and responsibilities.”

Earlier Friday, several Republican members of Congress attached their names to a brief signed by more than 300 conservatives urging the Supreme Court to rule in favor of marriage equality. Of the Senate’s four Republican supporters of marriage equality, Sens. Mark Kirk (Ill.) and Susan Collins (Maine) signed the brief. Sens. Rob Portman (Ohio) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) did not. Of the four Republican supporters of marriage equality in the House of Representatives, Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.), Richard Hanna (N.Y.) signed the brief. Reps. Charlie Dent (Pa.) and David Jolly (Fla.) did not. Rep. Chris Gibson (N.Y.), who had not previously endorsed same-sex marriage, signed the brief as well.

In January, the nation’s highest court agreed to consolidate four cases challenging same-sex marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee after the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld marriage bans in those four states. On Thursday, the Supreme Court announced oral arguments on the issue of marriage equality would be heard April 28, with a ruling expected by the end of June.

Congressional Democrats Marriage Brief

Justin Snow is Metro Weekly's former political editor and White House correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @JustinCSnow.

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