A decade after Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage, its chief law enforcement officer called on the US Supreme Court to strike down a California ban on same-sex marriage, declaring that it relegates gays and lesbians to “second-class status.”
In a brief joined by a dozen states, Martha Coakley, the state’s attorney general, wrote that the California ban violates equal protection rights in “clear conflict with our Constitution.”
“Denying gays and lesbians the opportunity to wed the partner of their choosing does not advance any legitimate governmental interest,” Coakley wrote in an amicus curiae, or friend-of-the-court brief, filed with the Supreme Court Thursday.
Officials in 13 other states — including New York, Illinois, and Maryland — joined the brief, some of which have not legalized gay marriage. The Obama administration also planned to file a brief in opposition to the California law, The New York Times reported Thursday.
The Massachusetts brief pointed out that a number of states have legalized same-sex marriage over the past decade and argued that the California ban, known as Proposition 8, targeted a specific group of people for discrimination.
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