U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Proposition 8 Case

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Proposition 8 Case

Diane Robertson

The nine justices of the Supreme Court have just decided to hear the California Proposition 8 case and one DOMA case (Defense of Marriage Act). These cases will be heard before the court in March and a decision will be expected by the end of June.

In the DOMA case, the court will decide if it is constitutional for the federal government to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman and limit federal marriage benefits to married couples of the opposite sex.  This won’t necessarily change any state laws on marriage, but the federal government would be required to recognize the marriages of same sex couples in states where it is legal.

In the Proposition 8 case, the court has two paths that it may take. The justices could decide the more basic issue of whether any state can ban same-sex marriage under the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection of the law—is same-sex marriage a right protected under the constitution?  Or the court could limit the ruling to apply only to the ban in California. The 9th Circuit Court of appeals ruled that California’s ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional because same sex couples were already granted the right to marry.

Same sex marriage is currently legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington, and Washington D.C.

If the court rules that same sex marriage is a constitutional right then no one will be able to reject servicing  same-sex couples based on religious conscientious objections—infertility doctors, bed and breakfast owners, reception hall owners, family lawyers, photographers, bakers, etc.  Schools will be required to teach that homosexual unions are equal to heterosexual unions. Homosexuality will be enshrined in the law.

The two U.S. Supreme Court accepted cases are Hollingsworth v. Perry (12-144) and US v. Windsor (12-307).

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