Eric Holder puts Justice Department on the right side of marriage equality history

Today, USA Today published an op-ed by Attorney General Eric Holder, noting that the Department of Justice will be filing a brief with the US Supreme Court, opposing statewide bans on marriage equality as a violation of equal protection. His op-ed and brief come as the US Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments on marriage equality.

Writing in USA Today, Attorney General Holder said:

This week, the Justice Department will file a brief setting forth our position that state bans on same-sex marriage violate the fundamental constitutional guarantee of "equal protection of the laws." It is clear that the time has come to recognize that gay and lesbian people deserve robust protection from discrimination.

Nothing justifies excluding same-sex couples from the institution of marriage. Denying them the right to marry serves only to demean them and their children, to degrade the dignity of their families and to deny them the full, free and equal participation in American life to which every citizen is entitled.

Of course, our work is not complete until every LGBT citizen has achieved equal footing and equal treatment under the law. One need only witness the bliss of a newlywed gay or lesbian couple, and see their beaming children, to know that, at last, we are correctly answering a historic question. And now that the Supreme Court is considering whether the Constitution guarantees marriage equality nationwide, we have our clearest opportunity yet to mark the defining civil rights struggle of our time with triumph — a triumph of our highest ideals, our deepest values and our self-evidentfounding promise: that all are created equal.

"The time has come to end marriage discrimination in America once and for all,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “By siding with fairness for all loving couples, Attorney General Holder has cemented his legacy as a stalwart defender of equality for every American. But marriage equality is a benchmark, not a finish line, and our work to close the gap to full acceptance of LGBT people continues.”

Additionally, Attorney General Holder also announced that he has named Benjamin C. Mizer as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division. Mizer, 38, will be the second most senior openly gay person to serve the Department of Justice.

These two moves come as Attorney General Holder is transitioning out of the Justice Department. His potential replacement, Loretta Lynch is still in the confirmation process. Currently, the US Supreme Court is scheduled to hear cases in April, with an expected ruling in June. For more information about marriage equality.