Same-sex couples from across the country filed lawsuits in federal courts arguing that state laws and constitutional amendments that prohibit them from marrying violate the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Same-sex couples in the U.S. would gain the right to marry nationwide if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down state statutes and constitutional amendments banning marriage equality.
These briefs address the standard of review that courts should apply when evaluating the constitutionality of laws that discriminate against LGB people. Under the federal Constitution’s equal protection guarantees, laws that classify on the basis of sex are subject to heightened judicial scrutiny and cannot stand absent an “exceedingly persuasive justification” and a showing that such laws substantially further important governmental interests. Laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation, like laws that discriminate based on sex, frequently have a basis in overbroad gender stereotypes about the preferences and capacities of men and women. Accordingly, heightened scrutiny should apply.