Washington joins 14 states in filing pro-gay marriage court brief

BOSTON (AP) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court urging it to take up several pending cases concerning the constitutionality of bans on same-sex marriage.

Coakley led the filing on behalf of Massachusetts and 14 other states, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington.

Coakley said the experience of Massachusetts - the first state to legalize gay marriage - shows that allowing same-sex couples to marry has only benefited families and strengthened the institution of marriage.

A total of 31 states still don't allow marriages between same-sex couples or recognize same-sex marriages licensed by other states

The brief argues that by withholding the rights associated with marriage, those states relegate gay and lesbian couples to a second-class status.