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President Obama speaks out on getting involved in Prop 8 gay marriage case

President Obama speaks out on getting involved in Prop 8 gay marriage case

President Barack Obama said today that getting involved in the Proposition 8 case to be heard by the US Supreme Court this month was not something his administration ‘could avoid.’

Obama met with reporters a day after his Justice Department filed a ‘friend of the court brief’ in the case which challenges the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, a referendum approved by voters in 2008 banning gay marriage.

‘When the Supreme Court essentially called the question by taking this case about California’s law, I didn’t feel like that was something this administration could avoid,’ Obama said during a press conference. ‘I felt it was important for us to articulate what I believe and what this administration stands for.’

The president spoke more specifically about why the administration believe the law should be struck down: ‘The specific question presented before the Court right now is whether Prop 8 and the California law is unconstitutional and what we’ve done is we’ve put forward a basic principle which applies to all equal protection cases. Whenever a particular group is being discriminated against, the court asks the question, what is the rational for this. And it better be a good reason. And if you don’t have a good reason, we’re going to strike it down.’

Although Obama is the first US president in history to publicly support gay marriage, his administration waited until the final deadline day to file its brief.

It stated in part: ‘Tradition, no matter how long established, cannot by itself justify a discriminatory law. Prejudice may not be the basis for differential treatment under the law.’

It also stated: ‘The designation of marriage, conveys a message to society that domestic partnerships or civil unions cannot match.’