The Obama administration filed a brief Friday urging the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, also known as DOMA.
Solicitor General Donald Verrilli argued that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional:
Section 3 of DOMA violates the fundamental constitutional guarantee of equal protection. The law denies to tens of thousands of same-sex couples who are legally married under state law an array of important federal benefits that are available to legally married opposite-sex couples. Because this discrimination cannot be justified as substantially furthering any important governmental interest, Section 3 is unconstitutional.
The brief was filed in United States v. Windsor, challenging the Section 3 declaration that marriage is only between a man and a woman, according to an NBC News report. That section also allows state and federal authorities to deny same-sex couples benefits typically afforded to heterosexual couples.
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case on March 27, a day after it is taking up California’s Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage.
Since Obama’s admission last summer that he personally supports gay marriage, speculation is that further action on the issue could be around the corner, something Obama hinted at in his second inaugural address.
“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal,” he said.
House Republicans also filed a brief Friday, arguing for the right to defend DOMA, Fox News reported.