President Barack Obama is said to be considering to file a friend-of-the-court brief with the Supreme Court in support of overturning Proposition 8, the controversial 2008 California law that banned gay marriage.
Austin R. Nimocks, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, who is a co-counsel in the case in favor of upholding Prop. 8, told The Christian Post in a phone interview on Thursday that ADF will hold off on commenting on such a brief until, or if, it is actually filed. However, he shared his hopes that the Supreme Court justices will not change the traditional definition of marriage.
"The wisest course of action is for the Supreme Court to allow the debate over marriage to continue in this country and not judicially impose same-sex marriage on Americans," Nimocks told CP.
Obama, who declared last May that he is now in favor of legally recognizing same-sex marriage, will seek to influence the justices, Fox News reported, and is currently looking at a number of important gay-marriage related cases that may decide the future of marriage in the U.S.
"I have to make sure that I'm not interjecting myself too much into this process, particularly when we're not a party to the case," Obama explained on Wednesday in an interview with San Francisco's KGO-TV. He did not, however, make a clear indication whether his administration will file the brief or not, a decision that they have one week to make.
During January's inaugural address, the president insisted that gays and lesbians should be "treated like anyone else under the law." "For if we are truly created equal, than surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well," Obama told the nation at the U.S. Capitol.
The Supreme Court will take up Prop. 8 on March 26, and can decide to uphold the gay-marriage ban, to reverse it in California alone, and even to prohibit states from banning gay marriage, which would have the widest implications. Currently, each state has the right to decide its own marriage laws. Nine states, and the District of Columbia, have legalized same-sex marriage, but the practice remains illegal in the majority of other states.
Fox News suggested that a presidential brief is unlikely to sway the Supreme Court judges, but the White House opinion would still carry some weight in the courts and be something to consider.
Theodore Olson and David Boies, two lawyers who are urging the justices to overturn Prop. 8, have said that they hope the White House administration will file a brief. Boies said in an interview last year that "we all have a lot of work to do to undo the 'pain and evil' of this discrimination against gays and lesbians."
"We believe the Supreme Court will get it right. David and I are writing no justice of this court off," Olson added, expressing confidence that Prop. 8 will be overturned.
Charles J. Cooper, the lawyer defending Prop. 8 along with ADF, has urged the government to stay out of the case, since it is not a party in it and has not been asked by the court to make its views known.
U.S. public opinions concerning same-sex marriage have been shifting in recent years, with a November 2012 Gallup polll showing that a slight majority, or 53 percent of respondents, +/- 4 percentage points, indicated that they are in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. And 46 percent of Americans said same-sex marriage should not be recognized by law as valid.