Current Affairs

US Supreme Court expected to add extra days of announcements as no opinions on equal marriage cases

Joseph McCormick June 24, 2013
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Despite reaching the final scheduled day, the US Supreme Court again failed to issue a ruling on two key equal marriage cases, and is now expected to add extra days to give its opinion.

The court began announcing rulings at 10:00 EDT (15:00 BST), which did not include opinions on two equal marriage cases: challenges towards Proposition 8, California’s ban on equal marriage, and the Defense of Marriage Act, which federally blocks thousands of benefits for same-sex married couples.

The court is now expected to add up to two more days of announcements. The justices normally issue opinions on Mondays and Thursdays, so the likelihood of a decision is becoming greater.

On the first day of hearings in March, the court heard arguments around Proposition 8, the state of California’s ban on equal marriage. Then the justices questioned the meaning of marriage, and challenged arguments for the ban. 

On the second day of hearings, several of the Supreme Court Justices raised concerns around DOMA, and some took that as a sign that there may be a narrow majority who will strike it down.

There are a number of possible outcomes, which range from effectively allowing equal marriage across the US, to letting Proposition 8 and DOMA stand. has compiled a short history of Proposition 8 legislation and a breakdown of the six possible outcomes the court might make.

As the law is fluid, there is an unpredictable number of combinations of rulings in the two cases.

It is unclear which ruling the Supreme Court will make, with some arguing it is likely to strike down Prop 8, and others arguing that there is a long legal battle ahead until equal marriage is legal across the US.

At the weekend, Supreme Court Justice Anton Scalia spoke out to say the court should not be ruling on such a “moral” issue. Some have taken this a possible sign that the court will rule in the favour of same-sex couples.

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