The Supreme Court could finally put the question of same-sex marriage to rest next year. The Supreme Court will hear arguments in California’s Prop 8 case Hollingsworth v. Perry, and the federal Defense of Marriage Act also known as DOMA.
Prop 8 was a voter-approved referendum to ban same-sex marriage despite state court rulings allowing the unions. The Defense of Marriage Act denies federal benefits to same-sex couples legally married in their own states.
“This is a major event in American history, not just in Supreme Court history.” said CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin in an article on CNN.com. The Supreme Court is not just going to decide whether the Defense of Marriage Act is constitutional, they are also going to decide whether Proposition 8 in California – whether the ban on same-sex marriage there is unconstitutional and that could affect all 50 states.”
The Human Rights Campaign, an organization that advocates for gay rights, issued an email on Friday lauding the announcement.
“A win in either of these cases would mark an incredible, decisive point in this movement’s history, one I’ve been working toward since I helped bring the Prop. 8 case as co-founder of the American Foundation for Equal Rights,” the HRC wrote in an email.
Attitudes toward same-sex marriage are shifting. This spring President Obama endorsed gay marriage. An often cited Gallup polls shows that 53 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage compared to about 27 percent in 1996. Nine states now allow same-sex marriage. Six states legalized domestic partnership benefits.
CNN reports that oral arguments will likely be held in March, with a ruling by late June.