Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden and 13 of his colleagues filed a brief in the Supreme Court of the United States Oct. 25 arguing that two states' bans on same-sex marriage violate the federal constitution's 14th amendment and should be struck down.
This is the third Supreme Court brief Biden has signed this year supporting the freedom to marry for all couples and arguing that laws discriminating against same-sex couples are unconstitutional.
In February, Biden signed two amicus briefs in landmark marriage equality cases. The first, in the case of Hollingsworth v. Perry, centered on whether whether Calfornia's ban on marriage for same-sex couples violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The second was in the case of U.S. v. Windsor, which challenged the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. That act, which prohibited states from recognizing full civil marriage for same-sex couples, ran against 200 years of congressional deference to state determination of domestic relations.
“Equality under the law is a founding principle of America,” Biden said. “Marriage equality is the law of the land in Delaware, but that is not the case in all states. We will not all be equal until everyone has the freedom to choose whom to love and whom to spend their lives with.”
State laws in Hawaii and Nevada provide many rights and protections for same-sex couples, but deny them the status of marriage. The brief filed today argue that by withholding the title of marriage, restrictive marriage laws consign gay and lesbian individuals and their families to second-class status and unfairly withhold the social benefits and cultural significance associated with marriage.
The attorneys general filed their brief in connection with two related cases that challenge Nevada’s and Hawaii’s bans on same-sex marriage: Beverly Sevcik, et al. v. Brian Sandoval et al., on appeal from the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, and Natasha N. Jackson, et al. v. Neil S. Abercrombie, et al., on appeal from the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii.
Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, Iowa, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington as well as the District of Columbia also signed today’s brief.