In a legal brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, Ohio’s attorney general defended the state’s ban on same-sex marriages by claiming that LGBT people don’t deserve to be a protected class.
Voters in Ohio approved an amendment to the state constitution in 2004, excluding same-sex couples from marriage or claiming any legal status similar to marriage.
As reported by Think Progress, the brief submitted to the Supreme Court by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, states that the 14th Amendment defers such decisions to “vigorous democratic debates in each state community.”
“Heightened scrutiny does not apply because there is no fundamental right to the recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages. Such a right would conflict with our Nation’s traditions in two ways,” the brief states. “All States denied the asserted right to same-sex marriage until recently. And a right to ‘protection and recognition’ falls outside the general right to privacy within which the specific marriage right sits. Nor has a new consensus emerged for a new right. Even today, a majority of States would adhere to marriage‟s traditional definition absent federal judicial mandates. And an international perspective does not change the analysis.”
According to DeWine, massive governmental support for same-sex marriage is proof that gays, as a group, have not been “relegated to such a position of political powerlessness,” as the Supreme Court has previously ruled in cases where heightened protection may be required.
“At the federal level, the executive branch filed an amicus brief, as did some 167 Representatives and 44 Senators. Not only that, with respect to DOMA, the executive branch’s strong support led it to the ‘unusual position’ of failing ‘to defend the constitutionality of an Act of Congress based on a constitutional theory not yet established in judicial decisions’ and that was rejected by four Justices. At the state level, 19 States filed four amicus briefs in these cases challenging the laws of their sister sovereigns. Further, several state officers have, like the federal government, ‘refused to defend’ their own laws. At the local level, some 226 Mayors and many of the largest cities expressed support.”
The Supreme Court is expected to rule on same-sex marriage, currently legal in 37 states, in June.