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Karl A. Racine
Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia

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District Joins Amicus Briefs in the Supreme Court in Favor of Marriage Equality

Friday, March 1, 2013

WASHINGTON, D. C. – The District of Columbia has joined amicus briefs in two cases urging the Supreme Court to strike down laws that discriminate against same-sex marriage, Mayor Vincent C. Gray and  Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan said today.

Yesterday, D.C. joined a brief filed by on behalf of 13 states and the District that asks the Court to recognize that a California law that bans marriages by same-sex couples violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution’s 14th amendment.   The brief cites data on marriage rates, divorce rates, and out-of-wedlock births and refutes speculation by Proposition 8 proponents on the supposed negative effects of allowing same-sex couples to marry.   It argues that “the states favor—and therefore encourage—marriage over transient relationships…”  The name of the case is Hollingsworth v. Perry.

Today, the District likewise joined a brief filed on behalf of 15 states and the District that challenges the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  The brief contends in part that “[p]reserving state and local authority over domestic relations from congressional interference protects not only the States, but more broadly the interests of individual liberty.”  The name of the case is Windsor v. United States.

Mayor Vincent C. Gray said, “As a longtime advocate for LGBT rights, I strongly support efforts to end discrimination.   The District’s participation in these landmark cases shows our commitment to a policy of treating our LGBT brothers and sisters fairly and as full members of our society.  We are proud to stand with the President, with our state partners, and with many civil rights groups, businesses and individuals in support of this important step toward the goal of justice.”  While the Mayor was serving as Council Chairman, the District became one of the nation’s first jurisdictions to enact full marriage quality for same-gender couples.

Attorney General Nathan said that “we believe strongly in the importance of equality for all citizens under the law.   No one in this country should be discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation, especially in the exercise of the fundamental right to marry the person of one’s choice. We hope that the Supreme Court holds that principle applies here, and invalidates the discriminatory laws in question here.”

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