Supreme Court will hear gay marriage cases

The news is just breaking that the Supreme Court has decided to take up two gay marriage cases: the legal challenge to California’s Proposition 8 and a review of the Defense of Marriage Act. They will render a decision on this by June 2013, and the result could be every bit as momentous as Roe v. Wade was in 1973. That means that in less than a year laws banning gay marriage could be overturned in every state of the union. Or maybe not. It’s all in the balance now. Here’s the report from the Associated Press:

The Supreme Court will take up California’s ban on same-sex marriage, a case that could give the justices the chance to rule on whether gay Americans have the same constitutional right to marry as heterosexuals.

The justices said Monday they will review a federal appeals court ruling that struck down the state’s gay marriage ban, though on narrow grounds. The San Francisco-based appeals court said the state could not take away the same-sex marriage right that had been granted by California’s Supreme Court.

The court also will decide whether Congress can deprive legally married gay couples of federal benefits otherwise available to married people. A provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act limits a range of health and pension benefits, as well as favorable tax treatment, to heterosexual couples.

Overturning state bans on gay marriage is by no means a slam dunk, but it is very much a possibility now that SCOTUS has decided to hear the case. It will depend on how certain justices decide to rule. Scalia, Thomas, and Alito are almost surely to vote against gay marriage. It’s possible that Chief Justice Roberts may join them, though that is not certain at this point.

If Roberts does hang tough with the conservatives, then it will all come down to Kennedy. Keep in mind that Justice Kennedy was the one who authored the Court’s two strongest gay rights rulings, including the 2003 decision that struck down Texas’ anti-sodomy laws. It seems then that there is a very real possibility that the majority could go in favor of gay marriage.

It’s also possible that SCOTUS might rule narrowly in a way that doesn’t have broad implications for the rest of the country. In any case, gay marriage advocates are poised for a victory in my view. Whether they move the ball down the field one yard or one-hundred yards remains to be seen. We’ll know by June.

The Wall Street Journal already has extensive reporting on the announcement. See also NY Times, Washington Post.

5 Responses to Supreme Court will hear gay marriage cases

  1. Danna Rabb December 7, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    Here it comes! All we can do is pray, but we all know that with the current supreme court there probably isn’t a chance that they won’t rule in favor of gay marriage. There are certainly scary days ahead for all Christians and certainly for our children and grandchildren, but we all should have known that anyway.

    • Mary Hilton December 10, 2012 at 1:19 am #

      Since when did America become a country that employed the Christian code of ethics to determine the rights of its citizens? The only arguments against gay marriage that use any logic at all use theist reasoning for support. Looking at this issue as one taken up by a court which has vowed to keep state separate from church, there is absolutely no solid reason two consenting homosexual adults shouldn’t be able to obtain the same rights granted to heterosexual Americans. Please keep in mind that somewhere out there, a mother prays for the rights of her gay son to be accepted in a society which still persecutes homosexuals the same way you’ve decided to hide your kids from the so called “scary days ahead”.

  2. Linda Jackson December 9, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

    You better be scared Danna, you should get your children and grandchildren and go hide in a basement in the church. Shame, Pity. How do you feel about this Dennis? Are you scared?

    • James Stanton December 10, 2012 at 9:47 am #

      Interesting reaction. I suspect you’re on the other side of this though. I do kinda find the hyperbole amusing.

      In recent years I’ve thought differently about the gay marriage issue. Ultimately, we’re talking primarily about committed homosexual couples that desire state recognition for their union. There is not really any constitutional basis to deny them this.

      These couple are living as de-facto common-law partners. Denying them marriage rights doesn’t change their reality.

      Neither however does granting them marriage rights change the Bible. Christians everywhere threatened by the new reality of gay marriage can take some cold comfort in the knowledge that their “real” marriage is valid according to scripture while the other is not.

      Otherwise, guess what? They’re still souls in need of saving. No change.

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