Marriage Equality Supporters File Briefs This Week At Supreme Court

Groups representing the military, business, and academia, as well as the White House, will be weighing in at the court this week in support of same-sex couples’ marriage rights.

Amanda Keller holds a flag as she joins other marriage equality supporters in Linn Park, at the Jefferson County courthouse, Monday, Feb. 9, 2015, in Birmingham, Ala. Hal Yeager / AP

By Friday, supporters of marriage equality will be weighing in at the Supreme Court to urge the justices to make nationwide marriage equality a reality.

Supporters include the Obama administration and the former Republican National Committee chair

Amicus curiae, or friend of the court, briefs are submitted in most cases before the justices, but hot-button issues like marriage, abortion, and affirmative action often present many filings — some of which, because of the lawyers involved and issues or arguments discussed, can end up as key points in the oral arguments or even ultimate decisions.

The same-sex couples challenging the bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee submitted their briefs on Feb. 27. In them they argue that the bans on marriage and/or marriage recognition are unconstitutional for violating equal protection and due process “fundamental right” guarantees. Amicus briefs supporting their position are due by Friday.

Attorney General Eric Holder wrote in USA Today on Monday that the Justice Department’s planned brief will argue that “[n]othing justifies excluding same-sex couples from the institution of marriage.”

Mandel Ngan / Getty Images

Ken Mehlman, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, is bringing together a group of more than 250 Republicans and libertarians who support a marriage equality ruling.

Those working to finalize the brief told BuzzFeed News on Tuesday that they expect to have a total of more than double the 131 signatures they had on a similar brief filed when the Supreme Court considered the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 in 2013.

In addition to Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Richard Hanna, two additional members of the House, Illinois Rep. Bob Dold and Florida’s Rep. Carlos Curbelo, have signed on to the Mehlman brief.

BuzzFeed News has learned that Sen. Susan Collins is signing on to the brief. Although Collins was praised for her work on repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” she did not endorse marriage equality until her latest re-election bid. Now, she has agreed with Mehlman and others that marriage equality is a constitutional guarantee. Additionally, former Sen. John Danforth, who opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment to the Constitution back in 2006, has signed on to the brief.

BuzzFeed News previously reported on a brief authored by Roberta Kaplan — the lawyer who argued on behalf of Edie Windsor in her successful challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act.

Ronnie Cho, Roberta Kaplan, Edie Windsor, and Stephen Friedman. Brad Barket / Getty Images

Anyone in the country was allowed to sign on to the brief, which Kaplan authored for the Human Rights Campaign, and the group announced Tuesday that it would be submitting the final brief with more than 200,000 signatures.

Also on Tuesday, OutServe-SLDN and the American Military Partners Association announced that they would be submitting a brief arguing that the current “patchwork” of marriage laws “harms military families and undermines national security.”

Additional briefs are expected in the coming days from many corner, including religion, business, and academia. The states’ briefs in support of the bans are due March 27, with supportive amicus briefs due the next week.

This post will be updated as additional briefs are filed and/or provided to BuzzFeed News.

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