WASHINGTON -- Fifteen states will urge the Supreme Court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, arguing that the law preventing the federal government from recognizing gay marriage is unconstitutional.
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley plan to file a friend-of-the-court brief on Friday, their offices said. Officials in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia, will join the amicus brief.
Separately, 13 states will file a brief on Thursday arguing that Proposition 8, the California gay marriage ban that is currently before the Supreme Court, is unconstitutional. That brief will be filed by Massachusetts and joined by 12 other states and the District of Columbia.
"Our experience in Massachusetts has unequivocally shown that ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage has only strengthened the institution," Coakley said in a statement about her amicus brief in the Prop. 8 case. "We urge the Court to strike Proposition 8 down because it discriminates against gay and lesbian individuals and their families."
The amicus brief in the case challenging DOMA, United States v. Windsor, argues that DOMA violates same-sex couples’ right to equal protection under the law. It states that DOMA represents an unprecedented intrusion on the authority of the states.
"There is no federal interest adequate to justify DOMA’s categorical disregard of the choice of some States to recognize or authorize same-sex marriage," the brief states, adding that DOMA's "sweeping refusal to recognize for federal purposes a class of marriages valid under state law violates the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment."
“The federal Defense of Marriage Act clearly violates the principle of equal justice under law as enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, and improperly intrudes on the traditional role of states in regulating marriage and promoting equality. We urge the Supreme Court to overturn this discriminatory law,” Schneiderman said in a statement provided to The Huffington Post.
“The State of New York has long recognized out-of-state same-sex marriages, and the enactment of the Marriage Equality Act further cemented our State’s position on this critical civil rights issue," he said. "My office will fight every day to defend the fundamental guarantee of equal protection under law for all New Yorkers.”