Gay Marriage

Supreme Court Will Announce Gay Marriage Opinions Today


The wait is over. At 10am ET this morning, the U.S. Supreme Court will announce its eagerly-anticipated decisions in a pair of cases dealing with the controversial issue of gay marriage. In Hollingworth v. Perry, the justices face the question of whether California's voter initiative banning gay marriage, Proposition 8, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. In United States v. Windsor, they consider the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which forbids the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages that are legal on the state level.

Each case presents multiple possible outcomes. In addition to the constitutional questions presented, the justices must also tackle difficult procedural issues. In the California case, for instance, because state officials have conceded Prop. 8's unconstitutionality and are no longer defending the law in court, that burden has fallen on a group of individuals involved in launching the original ballot initiative. The Supreme Court must therefore determine whether this group of initiative backers enjoys the legal standing to argue the case before the federal judiciary, or whether only state officials may preform that function. Should the justices rule that Prop. 8's backers lack standing, the Court would not need to address the question of whether or not a ban on gay marriage violates the Constitution.

The DOMA case poses similar complications. Although the Obama administration initially defended the law in court, the president has since reconsidered, and now argues that because Section 3 of DOMA violates equal protection, the justice department will no longer mount a defense, though the federal government will continue to enforce the law. In practical terms, this means that while the government agrees with challenger Edith Windsor that DOMA violates her rights, that has not stopped the Obama administration from collecting nearly $400,000 in estate taxes from her that an opposite-sex spouse would not be forced to pay. Furthermore, the Court must also consider whether the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House of Representatives, or BLAG, possesses the legal standing the defend DOMA in place of the Justice Department.

As we enter the final countdown to these potentially historic rulings, here's a selection from Reason's coverage of the gay marriage cases.

Justice Kennedy Comes Out Swinging Against DOMA.

Supreme Court Appears Unwilling to Legalize Gay Marriage Nationwide.

What Happens If SCOTUS "Punts" on Prop. 8?

The Constitutional Perils of Recognizing Gay Unions.

Gay Marriage and States' Rights: Does the legal challenge against Prop. 8 violate the principles of federalism?

The Federalist Case Against the Defense of Marriage Act.

NEXT: Steven Pinker's Favorite Thing: A Chunk of the Berlin Wall

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  1. My Facebook feed isn’t showing everyone changing their profile pictures to little equal signs. What gives?

    1. You will be less equal, unless you were already less equal, in which case, you will be more equal. Social Justice!

  2. Oooh, exciting! It’s like waiting in line for a sneak preview of the next Hunger Games installment!

    1. When is that coming out anyway? My kids have been bugging the shit out of me for that.

      1. How about never? Would never work for you?

    2. So, anybody else thinking two punts?

      1. A punt and a dropkick. DOMA stays on a technicality and Prop 8 is upheld as legal since it’s an amendment to the state constitution as defined by the state constitution.

      2. I no longer make predictions about SCOTUS opinions.

      3. They’ll define gay marriage as a tax. Also they’ll uphold the right of the states to regulate sodomy.

        1. So you can pick up your Sodomy Voucher at you local Department of Health?

        2. So a penaltax AND an analtax?

  3. NR, or… in other news…

    We are now officially living in the dark ages again, only we don’t burn the withches, yet. Well, in Sweden that is, in the US we’ve only regressed to the 1600s, but we’re working on it…

    Sweden catches some witches

    The 15-year-old girl who admitted opening the anonymous account was sentenced to juvenile detention, and her 16-year-old accomplice was given 45 hours of community service, reportedThe Local, an English-language news site in Sweden. They must also pay their victims a total of roughly $85,400, or about $2,250 each

    Where the hell do a 15 and 16 yr old get $85,000? Oh, yeah, their poor parents, paying their sin taxes…

    1. guilty of aggravated defamation on Tuesday for so-called slut-shaming 38 youths on the photo-sharing service Instagram, which led to rioting at two schools.


      1. If only they’d have told of the sexual exploits of boys. They would have received a medal instead of a lawsuit.

        Hey, Swedish girls: if you don’t want to get called a slut by your high school peers, don’t spread your legs open for every Tom Thomason, Richard Richardson and Harold Haroldson in town.

  4. Scotusblog has over 140,000 people on it right now. That’s fucking amazing.

  5. While I don’t include myself in the group that seems to consider this the civil rights topic of our generation, I am interested to see how the various Supreme Court justices fuck this thing way up.

    1. Scalia, Alito, Roberts and Thomas dissent.

    2. Only pplies to legal marriages, so it looks like states can set their own standards for marriage but will have to recognize any from other states as well.

      1. That should be fun here since SC doesn’t recognize out of state gay marriages.

    1. Bottom of 25-26: The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others.

    2. Justice Scalia is reading from his dissent right now. The Court’s opinion both in explaining its jurisdiction and its decision “both spring from the same diseased root: an exalted notion of the role of this court in American democratic society.”

      1. From a quick skim, sounds like Scalia wanted to punt and allow the lower court decision to stand by claiming that the Supremes cant rule at all.

    3. More from Roberts: “The Court does not have before it, and the logic of its opinion does not decide, the distinct question whether the States . . . may continue to utilize the traditional definition of marriage.”

      Looks like they’ll dismiss Prop 8 on lack of standing, so gay marriage will still be illegal in California, which is kind of funny when you think about it.

      1. But doesn’t CA have to recognize gay marriage from other jurisdiction’s now?

        1. Not really sure on that.

      2. But doesn’t dismissing Prop 8 on lack of standing mean that gay marriage becomes legal in CA?

        1. But doesn’t dismissing Prop 8 on lack of standing mean that gay marriage becomes legal in CA?

          No, it means the people challenging Prop 8 don’t have standing to argue in front of the Court.

        2. No, they are dismissing the challenge to Prop 8’s legality. Remember, it was passed by referendum and is part of the state’s constitution. Someone challenged its legality and the state refused to defend it, but the law is still on the books and will likely remain there.

          1. A California court has invalidated Prop 8. That decision will stay if the people who appealed the California court’s decision have no standing.

            1. The SC says the defenders of Prop 8 had no standing to do so.

              I guess state referendums are no longer worth the paper they’re printed upon if the state government can just ignore their results and not implement them.

              This may be a good day for gay couples in America, but it is a sad day for democracy when a state can just casually ignore the will of the people and their vote on a legally valid referendum.

              1. ^^THIS^^

                It is a very sad day the some Libertarians have let themselves be so caught up in the culture war they can’t see the problem with this.

                I thought being smart enough to understand that just because you get your pony doesn’t make it a good idea is what made Libertarians different.

    4. From Scotusblog: What this means, in plain terms, is that same-sex couples who are legally married will be entitled to equal treatment under federal law– with regard to, for example, income taxes and Social Security benefits.

      Looks like states will not have to do the same for people married in other states, just the fedgov.

  6. They found it unconstitutional on 5A grounds, yet decided it’s still ok to violate the 5A when it comes to affirmative action.

    Hell, in other 5A news today, Aaron Hernandez was carted off to jail for obstruction of justice for cleaning his house and doing what he pleased with his private property before he was even approached by the police.

    1. I haven’t kept up with the Aaron Hernandez thing but how do the cops even know any of the things he allegedly did to cover up a possible crime?

      1. They said he smashed his cellphone (private property) before they called him for an interview, he destroyed his security system (private property) before they called him for an interview and he had his house cleaned (private property) before they called him for an interview.

        They call doing what you want without ever being contacted by the police “obstruction of justice”.

        1. I see, basically they’re pissed at his lack of respect for authority.

          1. More or less. Hell, even the ESPN Legal “Analysts” are misstating the law and saying he is “being uncooperative”.

            Roger Cossack said “There is a federal law in almost every state that says destruction of evidence is obstruction even if you have not been contacted by the police.”

            There’s just so much wrong with that sentence, I wrote a letter to the ESPN ombudsman to please kick him in the balls. I’ve not received a reply yet.

  7. They also used 14th amendment grounds.

    DOMA’s totally dead.

    I didn’t think they’d go that far, but they did.

  8. Does this mean that states will have to recognize gay marriages from other states under the full faith and credit clause?

    As far as I know, DOMA was their only defense against the invocation of that clause.

  9. The retards* at HuffPo are singing the praises of the court and what a great system of justice we have. Yesterday, they called for abolishing the same body. My, how finicky progressives are when things go/don’t go their way.

    *No offense was meant to retards in comparing them to HuffPo commentators. If any retarded persons took offense, I humbly apologize.

  10. Just read this on HuffPo’s twitter page:

    Scott Lucas @ScottLucas86

    Strange mood in sf, as many celebrate, but some lgbt activists mourn loss of mvmts radical edge.
    6:39 AM – 26 Jun 2013

    Which is the essence of a lot of these people. Some are in it for equality, but many are in it just to be greifers. And they’re mourning the fact that they’re no longer going to be special little snowflakes and will have to search for something else to blame for their inability to be productive members of society.

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