White House legal urging on same-sex marriage could affect IL

Mar 1, 2013

  The Obama administration is urging the U.S. Supreme court to take a legal stance that could affect Illinois’ same-sex marriage fight.  IPR’s Alex Keefe reports: 
 Justices will hear arguments later this month about whether California can allow gay couples to enter into civil unions - but bar them from getting married. The Obama administration filed a third-party brief in the case Thursday, arguing states like California - and Illinois - can’t have one law for gay couples, and another for straight couples. Katharine Baker is a professor at the Chicago-Kent College of Law. BAKER: It also plugs into this very deep notion that separate is not equal, which is, I think, a notion that resonates with many many people in the country. Baker says the Obama administration’s stance is “politically clever,” because it wouldn’t apply to states that ban same-sex marriage outright. But University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone says the argument could backfire. STONE: Well, if the Obama administration position’s adopted by the Court, it would mean that Illinois, um either has same-sex marriage, or has to get rid of civil unions. Justices are set to hear arguments in the case late this month.