The U.S. Supreme Court is going to hear two major cases involving gay marriage, SCOTUSBlog is reporting.The court will take up both Proposition 8, which outlawed gay marriage in California, and a challenge to the federal defence of Marriage Act.
In Prop 8, the Ninth Circuit appeals court affirmed that California’s voter-approved ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional. Prop 8 had no purpose except lessening “the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California,” that court found.
California’s own Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage in 2008, but voters overturned that ruling with Prop 8 the same day Obama got elected for the first time.
One of the key issues the Supreme Court will consider is whether the proponents of Proposition 8 have standing to defend it, according to SCOTUSBlog.
Some gay rights advocates have argued it might be premature for the high court to take up Proposition 8. If the court overturns the Ninth Circuit, it could be a huge setback for gays everywhere.
DOMA bars the federal government from recognising same-sex marriage and defines the institution as being between a man and a woman.
The law, which the Obama administration has renounced, has the practical effect of sometimes requiring gay couples to pay more federal taxes, and gays often view the law as a symbolically hateful gesture.
The New York Times’ first openly gay columnist Frank Bruni has called the law “nasty.”
Bill Clinton signed DOMA into law in 1996, after it breezed through the Republican-controlled Congress.
Then-Georgia Congressman Bob Barr authored DOMA following an outcry over a Hawaii Supreme Court decision indicating it was leaning toward giving gay couples the right to marry.
However, even Barr eventually admitted there was no “defending the defence of Marriage Act.”
The high court is likely to hear the cases in March, according to SCOTUSBlog.
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