Eric Holder Pushes Supreme Court To Make Marriage Equality A Constitutional Right, As It Should Be

How far we've come in just a few years, huh? In an op-ed for USA Today published Monday, soon-to-be outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder not only embraced the marriage equality movement himself — he's long been a staunch ally on this issue — but he announced that the Department of Justice will be expressing as much, too. Holder said that a pro-same sex marriage Supreme Court brief will be filed by the DOJ next week, and expressed both the moral virtue and legal standing of marriage equality, condemning state-level bans as discriminatory and unconstitutional.

In other words, it's a show of public support that nobody could have envisioned throughout the entire George W. Bush administration, of that there's no doubt. It's also a level of vocal, headline-grabbing support that was absent throughout the early years of the President Obama era, to boot — it's easy to forget these days, but Obama was statedly opposed to same-sex marriage as a candidate in 2008, and that stance stuck until 2012. Back in February, former Obama campaign mastermind David Axelrod wrote in a new book that Obama was knowingly lying in 2008, a claim that the President's since contested. But many of his supporters knew it all along — at the very least, I never believed for an instant that he opposed marriage equality.


But setting that aside, Holder's tireless work on this issue has earned him a noteworthy place in America's gay rights history. In his Monday op-ed, he laid out the reasons the DOJ supports same-sex marriage, and the reasons the Supreme Court ought to eliminate bans at the state level.

As far as a breakdown by the nation's top cop is concerned, that's a pretty damn clear and forceful statement. Holder further asserted that same-sex marriage bans contribute to cultural homophobia, stigmatizing homosexual love and creating peer pressure to demean and denigrate such relationships.

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The Human Rights Campaign has lauded Holder's remarks, and the DOJ's decision to file this brief, and that comes as little surprise. It was just months ago that Holder headlined the HRC's 2014 national dinner, delivering a strong speech in support of equality. It's entirely possible that this issue — along with his straightforward candor on America's tortured, wary relationship with matters of race — will go down as his foremost legacy as Attorney General. And frankly, that's a pretty good legacy to leave behind.

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