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US Supreme Court to decide whether to accept same-sex marriage cases

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  1. The Proposition 8 case WILL NOT affect gay marriage anywhere but in California. At issue is a very narrow question: whether, having granted marriage to gay people, the people of a state can take it away from them, and whether they had any rational grounds for doing so. Further complicating it is the fact that all that was taken, the entirety of the deprivation, was the word ‘marriage’ since the civil unions in California are equal in every respect to marriage under state law. This is such a unique circumstance it can only apply to California.

    1. That’s not absolutely true. Firstly, the Supreme Court has the freedom to open this up as much as they like – although I agree they are likely not to use this freedom.

      But even if SCOTUS simply upholds the current judgement, that will have a slightly broader effect. For example, identical circumstances apply in Washington, which is about to start conducting marriages. Upholding the Prop 8 case means that the antis will not be able to put marriage back on the ballot in Washington in 2014, hoping that an off-year election will get them the result they want. Since Washington is in the 9th Circuit, that will also apply if SCOTUS declines to hear the case. Either way, the threat of a biennial distraction for the equality movement will be removed.

      Not the beginning of US-wide equal marriage, but still helpful beyond California.

  2. Pavlos Prince of Greece 30 Nov 2012, 2:22am

    Its only about California and only about paragraph 2 from ‘Doma’ (federal benefits to couples in marriage), no more. Yes, change comes, but its very dangerous to be too quickly with reforms, I fear. Revolution is all ways risky. Yes, I like the idea of gay marriage as ‘states issue’ not very much – but its only save strategy at the moment, and pragmatic too, especially if Supreme Court strikes down part after part of ‘Doma’, and one beautiful day even all law. American LGBT, please, rest realistic and not too naive. That, was happens on November 6, was democratic miracle indeed. But miracles have strange quality to happen not very often…

    1. “Its only about California and only about paragraph 2 from ‘Doma’ (federal benefits to couples in marriage), no more.”

      The DOMA cases concern section 3, not 2.

  3. If the Supreme Court decides not to hear the California case, the Appeals Court decision overturning Prop 8 stands and marriage is legal again in Calif.

  4. “The Proposition 8 case WILL NOT affect gay marriage anywhere but in California.”

    Actually, that is only true if the US Supreme Court decides not to hear the Proposition 8 appeal.

    If it decides to hear it, it is very unlikely that it would focus on the unique circumstances in California. It is precisely its uniqueness that makes the Proposition 8 case a poor candidate for a Supreme Court decision.

    On the contrary, if the court decided to hear the Proposition 8 appeal, it would more likely address the universal question as to the correct level of scrutiny that should apply to laws and constitutions that limit rights based on sexual orientation.

    That type of decision would have a tremendous impact on the constitutionality of all the anti-gay laws and state constitutions, not just those that concern marriage. It would either reinforce them or fatally weaken them.

    1. In that you are correct, it COULD address the level of scrutiny and any advancement on that issue would be a huge win. But I doubt that they will take the case for that purpose or rule on that basis. I think they would likely sustain the District Court precisely because it does not go beyond Rational basis to resolve the case. I’m not thinking there is a vehicle in Prop 8 to do much and that’s why I think it might not be taken up. It is too focused on California and the unique facts of the case.

  5. “It has been ruled as a ban that breaks the Californian constitution already, although it is the subject of an appeal.”

    That is not quite correct. Proposition 8 was found to be in violation of the US Constitution, not the California Constitution. Proposition 8 was an amendment to the California Constitution.

    1. That’s interesting. So amending the California constitution in that way broke the US constitution?

      1. Tim Hopkins 30 Nov 2012, 8:47am

        Yes, or at least yes according to the original federal case Judge Walker, and the 9th circuit appeals court that subsequently considered it.

  6. Christopher In Canada 30 Nov 2012, 4:03am

    Meanwhile, right next door, Canadians get married in 10 provinces and three territories, and all are recognized federally.

    So much for American liberty! Cowards, all.

  7. “What do they have to gain by hearing this case? Either they impose same sex marriage on the whole country,….. ”

    That’s right because if that happens heterosexuals will be forced to marry people of the same sex??????

  8. Jock S. Trap 30 Nov 2012, 9:46am

    Why does people being separated and divided in society just because they love someone who just happens to be of the same sex be a supreme court matter? What the hell is to be decided?

    The LGBT community is being treated unfairly and it Should matter of course, decency, respect and conscience to correct it. They are too ‘blind’ to see, too ‘superior’ to leave it as it stands esp when an equal society means a stable society.

    Just deal with it already by action and stop just talking about it.

  9. There is a possibility that the decisions of the Supreme Court may leak out this afternoon. These are the blogs that are most likely to have the latest accurate news and solid speculation:
    http://www.scotusblog.com/
    http://www.prop8trialtracker.com/

    The official public notices will appear in a new “Order List” that will appear here at 9:30 AM Eastern Time on Monday:
    http://www.supremecourt.gov/orders/ordersofthecourt.aspx

    If the new Order List at that time lists “12-144 Hollingsworth vs Perry”” under the “Certiorari Denied” title, that means that gays can start marrying again in California before Christmas.

    Generally speaking, “certiorari denied” means there will be no appeal before the US Supreme Court, while “certiorari granted” means there will be an appeal before the Supreme Court, and its final decision is expected in June 2013.

  10. Robert in S. Kensington 30 Nov 2012, 12:52pm

    If California goes the way of Washington State, Maryland and Maine, NOM’s days will be truly numbered.

  11. The Proposition 8 case held that once a right is recognized it cannot be taken away from a disadvantaged minority. This was the Colorado case all over again. It isn’t about marriage, it’s about the circumstances under which rights can be taken away.

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