The state of Utah will be asking the Supreme Court to finally determine if its laws against same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. Several other courts may also reach out to the court when it comes back from its summer recess in October.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in an interview today on ABC News’ This Week, that if the Court does take up any of those cases, the United States Department of Justice will file a brief that “will be in support of same-sex marriage.”
Noting that the brief would be “consistent with the actions that we have taken over the past couple of years,” Holder said he believes marriage to be a constitutional right for gay couples.
He added: “I think a lot of these measures that ultimately will come before the court will not survive a heightened scrutiny examination.”
Last February, Holder announced that the Dept. of Justice would stand behind any legally married same-sex couple, in part prompted by Utah’s refusal to recognize the marriages performed after District Court Judge Robert Shelby declared the state’s Amendment 3 unconstitutional.
“In every courthouse, in every proceeding and in every place where a member of the Department of Justice stands on behalf of the United States, they will strive to ensure that same-sex marriages receive the same privileges, protections and rights as opposite-sex marriages under federal law,” he said then.
Holder has also called the struggle for gay rights “a defining civil rights challenge of our time,” adding that the gay and lesbian community is waiting for an “unequivocal declaration that separate is inherently unequal.”