Obama asks the SCOTUS to strike down Prop 8.

This doesn’t earn him forgiveness for drone strikes, persecution of whistleblowers, or protecting torturers from the Bush years…but it’s a start.

Throwing unprecedented political weight into legalizing same-sex marriage, the Obama administration on Thursday urged the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down California’s ban on gay nuptials.

In a friend-of-the-court brief, the administration for the first time stepped into the four-year legal battle over Proposition 8, arguing that the 2008 voter-approved law violates the federal equal protection rights of gay and lesbian couples and does “not substantially further any important government interest.”

Although the administration stopped short of asking the Supreme Court to find all state bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, the legal reasoning, if adopted by the justices, would implicate laws similar to Proposition 8 across the country and raise the stakes in the civil rights showdown.

Good for him.

Of course, this doesn’t convince me that Obama has a spine.  Standing up on principle could’ve happened several years ago, when the polls didn’t show that most Americans favored this decision.  It’s less impressive when the stand you’re taking is politically expedient.

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