Dec 03 2012

Supreme Court Puts Off Decisions on Same-Sex Marriage

Feature Stories | Published 3 Dec 2012, 12:22 pm | Comments Off on Supreme Court Puts Off Decisions on Same-Sex Marriage -

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The Supreme Court may decide today whether or not to hear one of ten cases related to same-sex marriage. Eight of the pending cases involve challenges to Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA, where same-sex couples married in states where it is legal to do so, say they are unable to reap federal marriage benefits that heterosexual couples get. The ninth case involves the rights of same-sex state employees in Arizona, while the tenth case involves the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8.

Prop 8 was narrowly passed by California voters in 2008, banning same-sex marriage after a few brief months during which it was legal. After protracted court battles challenging the constitutionality of the proposition, and the state of California now refuses to defend prop 8. If the Supreme court decides to take up the case and strike down proposition 8, it would make same-sex marriage legal all over the country. On the other hand, if the court takes up the case and upholds the proposition, it could conversely potentially legalize marriage nationally, or leave it up to states to decide on a case-by-case basis. If the court decides not to take up the case at all, a ninth circuit Court of Appeals decision in February will stand, legalizing same-sex marriage but only in the state of California.

Many expect the Supreme Court to take up this last avenue of inaction, fearful of both an outright national ban or national legalization of marriage. A decision was expected on Friday but has been pushed potentially to this morning or even later in the week.

So far nine states including Massachusetts, Washington, and New York, as well as two Native American tribes, and the District of Columbia recognize the legality of same-sex marriages and Rhode Island recognizes marriages legally performed in other states.

GUEST: Rick Jacobs, Chair and Founder of the Courage Campaign

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