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Supreme Court to Take Up Gay Marriage

Society & Culture  (tags: abuse, activists, americans, culture, education, ethics, freedoms, gayrights, GoodNews, government, politics, religion, society )

- 1958 days ago -
The Supreme Court announced on Friday that it would enter the national debate over same-sex marriage, agreeing to hear a pair of cases challenging state and federal laws that define marriage to include only unions of a man and a woman.

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Kit B (276)
Friday December 7, 2012, 4:22 pm
(Photo Credit: Kimberly White/Reuters)

The Supreme Court announced on Friday that it would enter the national debate over same-sex marriage, agreeing to hear a pair of cases challenging state and federal laws that define marriage to include only unions of a man and a woman.

One of the cases, from California, could establish or reject a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Another case, from New York, challenges a federal law that requires the federal government to deny benefits to gay and lesbian couples married in states that allow such unions.

The court’s move comes against the backdrop of a rapid shift in public attitudes about same-sex marriage, with recent polls indicating that a majority of Americans support allowing such unions. After last month’s elections, the number of states authorizing same-sex marriage increased by half, to nine.

The court’s docket is now crowded with cases about the meaning of equality, with the new cases joining ones on affirmative action in higher education and the future of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Decisions in all of those cases are expected by June.

The new California case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, No. 12-144, was filed in 2009 by Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, two lawyers who were on opposite sides in the Supreme Court’s decision in Bush v. Gore, which settled the 2000 presidential election. The suit argued that California’s voters had violated the federal Constitution the previous year when they overrode a decision of the state’s Supreme Court allowing same-sex marriages.

A federal judge in San Francisco agreed, issuing a broad decision that said the Constitution required the state to allow same-sex couples to marry. The decision has been stayed.

A divided three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, also in San Francisco, affirmed the decision. But the majority relied on narrower grounds that seemed calculated to avoid Supreme Court review or, at least, attract the vote of the presumed swing member of that court, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

Judge Stephen R. Reinhardt, writing for the majority, relied heavily on a 1996 majority opinion from Justice Kennedy in Romer v. Evans, which struck down a Colorado constitutional amendment that had banned the passage of laws protecting gay men and lesbians. The voter initiative in California, known as Proposition 8, had done something similar, Judge Reinhardt wrote.

That reasoning, he added, meant that the ruling was confined to California.

“We do not doubt the importance of the more general questions presented to us concerning the rights of same-sex couples to marry, nor do we doubt that these questions will likely be resolved in other states, and for the nation as a whole, by other courts,” he wrote.

“For now,” he said, “it suffices to conclude that the people of California may not, consistent with the federal Constitution, add to their state Constitution a provision that has no more practical effect than to strip gays and lesbians of their right to use the official designation that the state and society give to committed relationships, thereby adversely affecting the status and dignity of the members of a disfavored class.”

The Supreme Court has several options in reviewing the decision. It could reverse it, leaving California’s ban on same-sex marriage in place unless voters there choose to revisit the question. It could affirm on the narrower theory, which would allow same-sex marriage in California but not require it elsewhere. Or it could address the broader question of whether the Constitution requires states to allow such marriages.

The second case the court agreed to hear, United States v. Windsor, No. 12-307, challenges a part of the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996. Section 3 of the law defines marriage as between only a man and a woman for purposes of more than 1,000 federal laws and programs. (Another part of the law, not before the court, says that states need not recognize same-sex marriages from other states.)
***Page one of two*** please continue reading at Visit Site*** Second page gives more details of each case.

By ADAM LIPTAK | The New York Times |


Friday December 7, 2012, 4:34 pm
If two people want to get married, why stop them? Religious idiots step aside and mind your own business.

JL A (281)
Friday December 7, 2012, 7:40 pm
There is another outcome possible not discussed in this article--that they will rule on whether the parties who filed the appeals have standing to even bring the case (those that replaced the govt entities who refused to defend Prop 8 and DOMA--the anti gay marriage folks in CA and Congress on DOMA. In the last couple of years this SCOTUS seems to take cases where the buzz is seeking to settle major societal issues once and for all, but the focal question for most of us remains untouched with how they rule--and may do that more often than prior SCOTUS.

Vallee R (280)
Saturday December 8, 2012, 8:53 am
Live together, married, whatever - let people do what they want -

pam w (139)
Saturday December 8, 2012, 7:39 pm
I can hardly wait! This could be HUGE because so many same-sex couples are waiting for the are those of us who LOVE them!

Susanne R (234)
Sunday December 9, 2012, 12:01 am
I have so little faith in the Supreme Court, mostly because of Alito, Scalia and Thomas.

Giana Peranio-paz (398)
Sunday December 9, 2012, 12:57 am
Let's hope it's a good outcome though it should never have to be discussed at all in the first place. Gay marriages are just like any other marriage of two consenting loving adults...

Danuta W (1248)
Sunday December 9, 2012, 2:09 am

Karen Tucker (11)
Sunday December 9, 2012, 2:10 am
I agree with Giana. Love is love, no matter who's involved. It's scandalous that in this day and age, marriage to whomever you choose to be with is not a human right.

Mari 's (1356)
Sunday December 9, 2012, 3:17 am
Love is Love and Love finds love sex and color have zero to do with it.

Karen Martinez (17)
Sunday December 9, 2012, 6:47 am
The gay couples we know are more respectful and loving toward each other than most of the 'straight' couples we know. Spending time with them makes my husband and me want to treat each other better. Even my teenage children realize this. Let them get married and have all the legal rights opposite sex spouses have.

Molly S (0)
Sunday December 9, 2012, 8:26 am
We know howThomas, Scalia and Alito will vote. I just hope Kennedy and Roberts do the right thing.

Kit B (276)
Sunday December 9, 2012, 8:33 am

Strip away all the social bias and you have two humans that care about one another, and chose to marry. To address the question of why people make the choice of marriage I think we have to look at the legal advantages of marriage. Whether buying a house, or dealing with health or end of life issues, all of this addresses the legal marriage partner and does not recognize the mutual agreements between two people. Nothing is more difficult to break down than the long established "norms" of a society, so we have no choice but to make the partnerships legal and acknowledged by the Supreme law of the land.

In the not so distance past it was considered a nightmare for a black couple to move into a white neighborhood, and it was illegal for people of mixed racial background to marry. The bible was used to support those prejudices as well. Time for everyone to grow up.

. (0)
Sunday December 9, 2012, 8:59 am
As this is not the most liberal court we have ever had, it will be interesting to see what the results are.
As far as Obama's hollow lip service of his support for gay marriage as a political tool, will this have any effect on their decision? Probably not. Would a President who actually created legislation to fight for this issue have a greater impact; possibly.

Aaron Bouchard (158)
Sunday December 9, 2012, 10:15 am
Noted thanks

Sunday December 9, 2012, 10:32 am
Why on earth would anyone wish to get married? Living together is not good enough?

Laurie H (817)
Sunday December 9, 2012, 11:57 am
What business is it of any government or any one, to interfere with who people love and their "PERSONAL" business???? There needs to be more love spread around this entire world, instead of the hatred spewing from so many places. Yes Kit, two people who are in love should have equal rights as any couple.~ Thanks again, Kit~~ Shared as well.~

Past Member (0)
Sunday December 9, 2012, 1:49 pm
The Constitution guaranties equal protection to all Americans. Case closed.

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