President Obama and his administration today filed a pretty historic amicus brief outlining the ways in which California's Prop 8 violates the Constitution and equal protection. As the Sac Bee notes, "The declaration was both voluntary, because the administration wasn't required to take a position on California's Proposition 8, and emphatic."
Today was the deadline for all amicus brief filings in the two gay civil rights cases coming before the court on March 26 and 27, the filings included one by fourteen states opposing the Defense of Marriage Act. Also, openly gay California Assembly Speaker John A. Perez filed a brief in favor of over-turning Prop 8, as did the ACLU, and the San Francisco-based Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom. And, as we mentioned earlier in the week, there was also that brief by a group of prominent Republicans urged the justices to overturn Prop 8 in the name of conservative values.
Attorney General Eric Holder subsequently issued a statement on the filing, saying, "Throughout history, we have seen the unjust consequences of decisions and policies rooted in discrimination. The issues before the Supreme Court in this case and the Defense of Marriage Act case are not just important to the tens of thousands Americans who are being denied equal benefits and rights under our laws, but to our Nation as a whole."
SCOTUSblog explains further, re: the brief:
In essence, the position of the federal government would simultaneously give some support to marriage equality while showing some respect for the rights of states to regulate that institution. What the brief endorsed is what has been called the “eight-state solution” — that is, if a state already recognizes for same-sex couples all the privileges and benefits that married couples have (as in the eight states that do so through “civil unions”) those states must go the final step and allow those couples to get married.