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President Barack Obama delivered an historic inauguration speech yesterday, marking the first time a president has advocated for gay rights in such a high-profile speech.Specifically, Obama said, “We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths — that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”
That speech could turn out to be more than just words.
As the Supreme Court gears up to hear two gay marriage cases later this year, the president’s words might offer the first real look at how those arguments will go before the high court.
The speech, which has been called “a bold legal move to support a constitutional right to gay marriage,” is a pretty strong indication the Obama Administration will side with gay rights activists when they face the justices this spring, The Los Angeles Times reported Monday.
“I was very gratified to hear the president state in clear and unambiguous language that our gay and lesbian citizens must be treated equally under the law and that their loving relationships must be treated equally as well. That can only mean one thing: equality under the Constitution,” Theodore Olson, a gay rights supporter and former George W. Bush solicitor general, told the Times.
Plus, some of the justices’ records on gay-rights decisions could be a positive sign for gay marriage supporters.
Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts helped represent gay activists during his career as an attorney, and a California federal judge used conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy’s pro-gay opinions when striking down the state’s anti-gay Proposition 8.
All in all, Obama’s inauguration speech, combined with the fact that two of the high court’s most conservative justices have a history of siding with gay rights activists, could mean good news for the movement this spring.
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