C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Ringside at History

The Supreme Court of the United States:
Top row (left to right): Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer, Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito, and Associate Justice Elena Kagan. Bottom row (left to right): Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, and Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Tomorrow, the Supreme Court hears oral arguments on the Prop 8 case (originally known as Perry v. Schwarzenegger, then as Perry v. Brown, now called Hollingsworth v. Perry), which has been coordinated for the good guys by the American Foundation for Equal Rights. Matt Baume provides the voice-over for this summary of AFER's efforts:

SCOTUSblog has a summary "In Plain English" of the legal issues involved with the case here, if you want to read it.

On Wednesday, the high court will hear arguments in the DOMA case, United States v. Windsor.

It's worth noting two things: first, that the Supremes don't have to hear any case that's appealed to them; they pick and choose the ones they want. And second, broadly speaking, the Prop 8 case deals with state issues surrounding same-sex marriage, while the DOMA case deals with federal issues. So in choosing to hear these two particular cases out of the dozen or more other same-sex marriage cases that have also been appealed to the court in the past year, the justices would seem ready to make a clean, sweeping ruling, or combined rulings, to cover the whole spectrum of legal issues concerning same-sex marriage in this country. Or that's how it seems to me, but what do I know.

However, the justices have also specifically asked in both cases that the issue of legal standing be addressed, which is a technical thing that might, or might not, give the court some wiggle room not to make any sweeping rulings at all. So we just have to wait and see, because the bottom line is - the court could go either way, and I'm not expecting gay marriage will be legal all over the country anytime soon.

However, given the breathtaking speed of changing attitudes in this country towards same-sex marriage, it seems highly unlikely to your Head Trucker that the court will avoid ruling in our favor, at least to some extent. As I said when the cases were accepted by the court, my intuition tells me that the court will certainly legalize gay marriage in California, at the very least, and will also declare that the federal government has to recognize same-sex marriage in those states where it is allowed.

Beyond that, who knows? Rulings are not expected to be delivered until sometime in June, so we'll have to wait and see. But what an exciting moment in history - especially for those of us who remember what the world was like before Stonewall.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails