President Barack Obama to urge court to overturn California gay marriage ban

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration on Thursday will ask the Supreme Court to overturn California's ban on gay marriage and take a skeptical view of similar bans, according to a person familiar with the government's legal filing in the case.

The brief in the California Proposition 8 case does not call for marriage equality across the United States, but it does point the court in that direction.

The justices should subject laws that discriminate on sexual orientation to extra rigorous review, according to the filing. Such a standard of increased scrutiny would imperil other state bans on same-sex marriage.

The administration also contends that denying gays and lesbians the right to marry violates the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause.

While such friend-of-the-court briefs are not legally binding, the administration's filing could have some influence on the justices when they consider the constitutionality of the ban in March.

The Justice Department planned to file the brief later Thursday, the deadline for the case. The justices will hear oral arguments in the case on March 26.

The person familiar with the brief spoke on anonymity in order to discuss the document before it was filed.
 

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