Justice Supreme Court

Holder: The DOJ “Stands Firmly” on the Side of Marriage Equality

Written by SK Ashby

Outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder has penned an op-ed for USA Today detailing the numerous reasons why the Department of Justice has filed a brief with the Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage.

Arguing that same-sex marriage bans violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, Holder lays out what this means for "nearly every aspect of daily life" for gay couples.

Marriage bans inflict concrete harms that touch nearly every aspect of daily life for gay and lesbian couples. The bans intersect with issues as varied as workers' compensation, taxation and inheritance, posing challenges to basic financial security. Same-sex couples living in states with bans too often face obstacles to adopting and raising children together. And restrictions on medical decision-making and hospital visitation impose devastating burdens during the moments when a partner is needed most.

The mental and emotional injuries are just as acute. A marriage ban written into state law broadcasts the state's view that same-sex couples and their children are second-class families, undeserving of the rights and protections offered to opposite-sex couples. It creates a stigma that pervades society, encouraging individuals to harass or belittle even their loved ones because of pressures brought by their community. And it harms relationships between family members by perpetuating a destructive notion that some individuals — and some children — should be shown less love and support simply because of who they are. That is a view the Department of Justice flatly rejects. And with our brief, we will make clear that the United States stands firmly on the side of equality.

I recommend reading the full column from Holder.

Holder's official portrait was unveiled last week during a ceremony attended by the president. You can watch the ceremony below.