Does anyone remember this line in the Declaration of Independence not the Constitution that states the unalienable rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”? Or how about this famous line from the Bill of Rights which is the first ten amendments of the Constitution stating “the separation between church and state”? Why do I bring this up? Simple. The issue keeps coming up from time to time and never goes away much like the second amendment and its misuse by the gun lobby yet this is another conversation entirely. During an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Wednesday, Obama was asked whether gay marriage was a right under the Constitution. According to Huff Post, he responded by saying, “Well, I’ve gotta tell you that — in terms of practical politics, what I’ve seen is a healthy debate taking place state by state, and not every state has the exact same attitudes and cultural mores. And I — you know, my thinking was that this is traditionally a state issue and — that it will work itself out. On the other hand — what I also believe is that the core principle that people don’t get discriminated against — that’s one of our core values. And it’s in our Constitution.” After his response Obama was then asked if a state’s gay marriage ban was constitutional, he responded by saying, “Well, I can’t, personally. I cannot. That’s part of the reason I said, ultimately, I think that, same-sex couples should be able to marry. That’s my personal position. And, frankly, that’s the position that’s reflected — in the briefs that we filed — in the Supreme Court.” Obama’s position has changed since last May when he stressed that the issue was for the state’s to decide even though he is in support of it. The Supreme Court will be taking up both the Prop 8 marriage ban from California and the Defense of Marriage Act in back to back cases in March. The Obama administration submitted a legal brief stating that it believes the California ban is unconstitutional and the Justice Department has stopped defending the constitutionality of DOMA. The fight for gay rights will not be over until gay marriage was recognized in all states according to Obama in his second inaugural address: “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law… for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”
The fight for equal rights for all groups continues to rage as the right to marry has made more headline not just in the United States but around the world. As many other countries come to accept the idea and other struggles to come to terms, the United States as always is struggling to unite on the issue. While others struggle, some U.S. business interests are showing their support for gay marriage by lending their signatures to two briefs that will be filed this week with the U.S. Supreme Court, according to lawyers who argue that gay rights is good for business. Various companies will be joining separate friends of the court briefs one on Wednesday challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act and one on Thursday that questions the California ban on gay marriage. The companies are asking that the court invalidate Prop 8 in California and strike down Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. According to Reuters, the Prop 8 brief filed has some major players joining the fight including Apple, Nike, Facebook, Morgan Stanley, Intel Corp, Xerox, AIG, and Cisco Systems. The cases will be argued on March 26 and 27. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has not taken a position on the issue, while business interests have no previously been represents in briefs already filed in support. More names could be added to the brief that will be filed on Thursday according to the lawyers handling the Prop 8 brief. Similar brief for the DOMA case has more than 250 signatures that will be filed Wednesday. The Prop 8 brief claims that the companies feel the ban and other laws inflict real and unnecessary injury on business and can impede the efforts to recruit the best workers because of the social stigma imparted by Prop 8 and similar laws. It seems to be more about business than actually being concerned with equal rights?