[O]ur opponents argue that the growing support for marriage equality means that the courts should leave to the states whether to permit marriage equality sometime in the indefinite future.
But as we proved during a 12-day trial that we won in a California federal district court in 2010, laws like Proposition 8 cause devastating harm to gay and lesbian couples and their children. Exclusion from the institution of marriage marks those couples and their children with a badge of inferiority. The damage this does to their hearts and minds is immeasurable—and the damage it does to all of us and our belief in the nation's ideal of equality is incalculable.
For one to say that the Supreme Court should leave the question of marriage equality to the political processes of the states is to say that states should remain free to discriminate—to impose this pain and humiliation on gay men and lesbians and their children—for as long as they wish, without justification. The Constitution forbids such an indecent result. It did not tolerate it in separate schools and drinking fountains, it did not tolerate it with respect to bans on interracial marriage, and it does not tolerate it here.
March 26, 2013
An op-ed on the day of the big oral argument: