U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says the Justice Department is prepared to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down same-sex marriage bans across the country should the high court take up one of the challenges currently before the federal appellate courts.
In an interview with ABC News, Holder said the Justice Department would file a brief with the court that “will be in support of same-sex marriage,” and that he believes that marriage discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is unconstitutional.
Holder said the brief would be “consistent with the actions that we have taken over the past couple of years,” after the Obama Administration refused to defend a section of the Defense of Marriage Act that defined marriage as between one man and one woman, and filed a brief urging the Supreme Court to strike down that provision.
Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled in a challenge to Utah’s same-sex marriage ban, that states cannot prohibit two people from marrying simply because they choose a partner of the same-sex.
It was the first time a federal appeals court ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.
The state of Utah said last week it would appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, and a number of other challenges currently before the circuit courts have increased the likelihood that the issue will be considered by the high court before Obama leaves office.
“I think a lot of these measures that ultimately will come before the court will not survive a heightened scrutiny examination,” said Holder.