Gay couples ask US court for marriage equality

WASHINGTON (AP) - Gay and lesbian couples who are challenging California's ban on same-sex marriage say the U.S. Constitution prohibits discrimination against them in the nation's largest state or anywhere else in America.

Prohibitions on gay marriage are enshrined in 30 state constitutions and in statutes in about 10 other states. The couples' brief, filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday, describes anti-gay marriage restrictions as a "badge of inferiority, separateness and inequality" that "must be extinguished."

But in the brief filed with the high court, the couples suggest several options in their consideration of California's Proposition 8 that stop short of declaring full marriage equality across the United States.

The Christian legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom, part of the defense team, also filed a brief. It called marriage between a man and a woman "a bedrock social institution that diverse cultures and faiths have honored throughout the history of Western Civilization."

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)