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US: Supreme Court to issue opinions in key equal marriage cases today

Joseph McCormick June 26, 2013
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The US Supreme Court is set to issue opinions in two key equal marriage cases today, the official final day of its term, after several days of speculation on when the ruling would come.

After numerous days of non-decisions in the cases, incuding yesterday, which was already added as extra, the court has added today as a final day for this term.

It is expected to announce its opinions in challenges towards Proposition 8, California’s state-wide ban on equal marriage, and the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars same-sex married couples from many benefits afforded to opposite-sex couples.

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.

More: Americas, Anthony M Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice, Chief Justice of the United States, Civil partnerships, Clarence Thomas, Elena Kagan, equal marriage, gay marriage, gay wedding, John G Roberts Jr, lesbian marriage, lesbian wedding, marriage, Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, marriage equality, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, same sex marriage, Same-sex wedding, Samuel Anthony Alito Jr, sonia sotomayor, Stephen G Breyer, US, US Supreme Court Justices, wedding

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