Gay couples ask U.S. Supreme Court court for marriage equality in California Prop. 8 case (PDF)

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The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments next month on California’s Proposition 8, which outlaws same sex marriage. Plaintiffs in the case on Thursday filed their brief (see below) with the high court, calling on the justices to recognize “marriage and equality.”

California’s 2008 voter-approved measure, Proposition 8, overturned a state court ruling that allowed gay marriages in California. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower federal court ruling that found Prop. 8 unconstitutional.

In their brief , attorneys Theodore B. Olson and David Boies make the case that Proposition 8 and similar laws are irrational and discriminatory.

“Because of their sexual orientation – a characteristic with which they were born and which they cannot change,“ the brief says. “Plaintiffs and hundreds of thousands of gay men and lesbians in California and across the country are being excluded from one of life’s most precious relationships.”

The attorneys argue Prop 8 labels families as “second-rate” and brands gay couples with the “badge of inferiority, separateness, and inequality.”

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on two gay marriage cases this spring – Prop. 8 and a challenge to a federal Defense of Marriage Act which denies federal benefits like Social Security to same sex partners.

Oral arguments on Prop 8 are scheduled for March 26th. The plaintiffs filed their brief to the court earlier.

Prohibitions on same-sex marriage are enshrined in 30 state constitutions and in statutes in roughly 10 other states. The brief also suggests several options to the justices that stop short of declaring full marriage equality across the United States.

The case is Hollingsworth v. Perry. Read the full brief below:

California Gay Marriage Ban Respondents Merits Brief by

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