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Justice Department strongly backs gays on marriage

Publication Date: 
July 07, 2011
Source: 
The San Francisco Chronicle
Author: 
Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer

Professor Jane Schacter is quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle on a DOJ brief filed in Calif. which strongly backs marriage equality.

The latest San Francisco court filing on same-sex marriage reads like a gay rights manifesto: It rejects tradition, morals and procreation as justifications for marriage restrictions and concludes that a federal ban on spousal benefits was unconstitutionally based on "animus" - dislike, rooted in prejudice - toward gays and lesbians.

The brief comes not from Lambda Legal or the American Civil Liberties Union but the Obama administration's Justice Department - which, like the president himself, may be tiptoeing toward a wholehearted endorsement of same-sex marriage rights.

The filing, submitted Friday in the case of a San Francisco federal court employee seeking family insurance coverage for her wife, was the department's first chance to elaborate on President Obama's announcement Feb. 23 that he considered the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and would no longer defend it in court. The 1996 law denies hundreds of federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples.

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"The arguments made here all support full marriage equality," said Jane Schacter, a Stanford law professor.