The US Supreme Court has decided to hear cases challenging California’s Proposition
8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
It is believed that the cases might lead to a federal ruling on whether
same-sex marriage is a right.
Pete Williams reports that he believes the fact that the Supreme Court took the
Proposition 8 case is a sign that conservative members believe the proposition will be upheld
because they would not have opted to take the Prop. 8 case unless
they thought the law would be upheld. This is the first time that the Supreme Court will directly rule on a state same-sex marriage law.
The Proposition 8 case could be ruled on in a way that does not decide if states can forbid same-sex marriage. A federal appeals court struck down Prop. 8 on the grounds that California could not take invalidate marriages that had been granted after a ruling in favor of same-sex marriage state court. The Supreme Court could decide to only rule on that matter and refuse to decide if states have any right to forbid same-sex marriage.
The Defense of Marriage Act case will not determine whether or not there is a federal right to same-sex marriage, rather it will decide whether the federal government can refuse to recognize same-sex marriages recognized by states. It is expected that the cases will be argued in March and decided in June.