Today the Supreme Court will hear arguments on California’s Proposition 8, in which the people of the state voted not to allow gay marriage. On Wednesday, the court will hear a related case on whether the Defense of Marriage Act, in which Congress defined marriage as being between one man and one woman, is Constitutional.
I can envision the progressives on the court voting against the Defense of Marriage Act on equality grounds and the conservatives voting against it on federalism grounds, that Congress infringed on the right of states to make laws against marriage. Then again, if the court throws out Proposition 8, that would prevent states from having the option to not have gay marriage. That ruling would have consequences for every state in the union.
How do you think the court will rule on this? (The decision won’t be announced for several months.)
From Liz Goodwin at Yahoo News:
The Supreme Court will hear arguments this week in two cases that have the potential to transform American society and the status of gays and lesbians in it.
In oral arguments on Tuesday morning the 9 justices will consider whether California’s voter approved ban on gay marriage, Proposition 8, unfairly discriminates against gay people. On Wednesday, they’ll consider whether the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act barring the U.S. government from recognizing same-sex marriages, even in states that allow them, constitutes federal overreach.
Both cases could change the everyday lives of gay people and transform the larger, decades old gay rights movement, which has pursued both a court-based and political strategy to gain more legal protections for gay people. But the California Prop 8 case in particular, called Perry v. Hollingsworth, is considered by both pro and anti-gay marriage camps to be the most important, and potentially sweeping, of the two.
In Perry, there’s a possibility that the court could declare that gays and lesbians have a fundamental right to marriage just as heterosexual couples do. Such a decision would send a message from the court that both same sex and heterosexual relationships must be treated equally in the eyes of the law.
“There aren’t many Supreme Court decisions that have the potential to be as transformative,” said Erwin Chemerinsky, founding dean of the University of California Irvine School of Law.