Analysis: Wider Legal Rights At Stake in U.S. Marriage Cases
As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to take up same-sex marriage next month, laws barring recognition of such unions are not the only issue hanging in the balance. The very question of whether gay people constitute a vulnerable group that needs the court's help in asserting equal rights is also at stake.
Ahead of two high-profile oral arguments in March, backers of gay rights and defenders of more traditional marriage are zeroing in on whether courts should be wary of any laws that target gay people.
The underlying question is whether bans on gay marriage violate the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law.
Gay rights supporters are hoping the U.S. Justice Department will argue in favor of tough scrutiny of any laws targeting gay people.
"It would be a very strong statement that gay people have really suffered a history of discrimination," said Susan Sommer, a lawyer with Lambda Legal.
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