HRC Blog

Department of Justice Prepared to Fight Same-Sex Marriage Bans

DOJOn Sunday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is prepared to urge the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) to uphold an appeals-court ruling that would prevent states from banning marriage equality.

Last month the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit issued a historic ruling affirming the December 2013 decision from U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby in Kitchen v. Herbert that the amendment to the Utah Constitution barring marriage for same-sex couples violates the U.S. Constitution. 

In an interview with ABC News' Pierre Thomas, AG Holder admitted that if the Supreme Court heard any cases regarding same-sex marriage bans, the Justice Department would file a brief. Holder said that the brief, "will be in support of same-sex marriage."

The Tenth Circuit’s ruling is the broadest appellate court ruling in favor of a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry.  The court applied strict scrutiny in striking down Utah’s marriage ban, providing the highest level of protection to same-sex couples.

In the interview Holder said, “"I think a lot of these measures that ultimately will come before the court will not survive a heightened scrutiny examination."

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