The Supreme Court Hears the Gay Marriage Debate

The Supreme Court Hears the Gay Marriage Debate

marriage equality and supreme courtby Nathalie Bowman

Today is a big day for anyone interested in the status of marriage in the United States. The Supreme Court of the land will hear four cases in regards to the legal issues of same sex marriage.

This is an important issue for all who believe in marriage between a man and a woman as well as the right of children to have both a mother and a father. Back in January, the Supreme Court agreed they would hear these four cases. There are two main decisions the court will make: whether the constitution requires states to allow same-sex marriage, and whether a state must recognize the marriage of a same-sex couple, which was performed in another state. This ruling may likely change the face of marriage in the US.

Although it may feel far away and not reaching us into our comfortable little homes, I urge you to take note of the proceedings and be educated about this issue. It will affect all of our families.

Robert Barnes of the Washington Post has some interesting points about the Supreme Court accepting this case and how the landscape of gay marriage in the US has changed in the last few years:

“Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Gay Marriage Issue”

The Supreme Court announced Friday that it will decide a historic question about whether the Constitution requires that same-sex couples be allowed to marry no matter where they live or whether states are free to limit wedlock to its traditional definition as a union only between a man and a woman.

The court accepted cases from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, where restrictions about same-sex marriage were upheld by an appeals court in Cincinnati two months ago. The high court will hold 2 1/2 hours of oral arguments in April and decide the issue by the time the current term ends in June.

The justices ordered that the parties to the cases address two questions in their legal briefs:

  •     Whether the Constitution requires states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and
  •     whether states must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states where they are legal.

Advocates have called same-sex marriage the modern era’s most pressing civil rights issue, and the court’s action could mark the culmination of an unprecedented upheaval in public opinion and the nation’s jurisprudence.

The country’s first same-sex marriage, the result of a Massachusetts court decision, took place less than 11 years ago. Now, more than 70 percent of Americans live in states where same-sex couples are allowed to marry, according to estimates.

 The questions raised in the cases that the court will consider this spring were left open in 2013 when the justices last confronted the issue of same-sex marriage. A slim majority said at the time that a key portion of the federal Defense of Marriage Act — withholding recognition of same-sex marriages — was unconstitutional and in a separate case allowed same-sex marriages to resume in California.

Since then, courts across the nation — with the notable exception of the Cincinnati appeals court — have struck down a string of state prohibitions on same-sex marriage, many of them passed by voters in referendums. Many of those court decisions compared the prohibitions to the ones on interracial marriage that the Supreme Court struck down in 1967 in Loving v. Virginia.

When the Supreme Court declined to review a clutch of those decisions in October, same-sex marriage proliferated across the country……”  Read more

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