Supreme Court to hear historic same-sex marriage case today
The US Supreme Court will hear arguments in a ‘mega-case’ surrounding same-sex marriage bans today.
The court will today begin hearing oral arguments in a ground-breaking case concerning marriage bans in the states of Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, and Kentucky, in the first large-scale Supreme Court action on the issue since a ruling in favour of equality during 2013’s United States v Windsor.
As the nine Supreme Court justices previously tipped in favour of equality on the Windsor case – striking down parts of the federal Defense of Marriage Act – advocates are tentatively hopeful that the battle could bring same-sex marriage to all 50 states.
The court has allotted two and a half hours of argument to the case – with a tightly-controlled time limit for arguments from each state, as well as lawyers representing 12 same-sex couples and two widowers.
As the court is attempting to resolve a ‘circuit split’ – where some lower courts have found in favour of same-sex marriage and some against – the eventual ruling is likely to be decisive, whether in favour or against allowing states to ban same-sex marriage.
A ruling is expected by the summer.
Ahead of the case, hundreds of amicus briefs have been filed by concerned parties – with President Obama’s administration urging the court to strike down bans on same-sex marriage, while Republicans in Congress urged the court not to.
However, in a sure-fire sign that Republicans don’t want to be seen on the wrong side of history in the case, just 57 out of the party’s 299 Members of Congress signed the brief, which argues states should be allowed to decide if gays are allowed to marry.
In contrast, a brief from the Democrats in favour of equality was signed by 211 of the party’s 232 Members of Congress.
Bitter rivals – including Microsoft, Apple and Google, Twitter and Facebook, eBay and Amazon – put their differences aside to sign on to the brief.
Other iconic businesses to support same-sex marriage include Walt Disney, Coca-Cola, Nike, Visa, American Apparel, Verison, General Mills, Barnes & Noble.
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