January 23, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court was urged on Tuesday to uphold the constitutionality of two laws that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman, as it prepares to hear arguments in the historic same-sex marriage cases two months from now. Supporters of the 2008 California prohibition on same-sex marriage known as Proposition 8 told the court that defining marriage should be left to voters rather than judges, and that the ban did not dishonor gays and lesbians. "That same-sex relationships are not recognized as marriages does not reflect a public judgment that individuals in such relationships are 'inferior' or 'of lesser worth as a class,'" the brief said, "but simply the fact that such relationships do not implicate society's interest in responsible procreation in the same way that opposite-sex relationships do." In a separate filing, the top three Republican members of the House of Representatives - Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy - urged the court to uphold Section 3 of a 1996 federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act, that has the effect of denying same-sex couples a variety of federal benefits that heterosexual couples receive.