Supreme Court Grants Review Of Two Historic Same-Sex Marriage Cases


The U.S. Supreme Court
The U.S. Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has accepted two cases that deal with the issue of same-sex marriage. One of the cases is that of Edie Windsor (left) challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) — a law supported and signed by former President Bill Clinton to bar federal recognition of same-sex marriage. On October 18, 2012, the Second Circuit struck down DOMA in Windsor v. United States. Also accepted is Hollingsworth v. Perry dealing with “Proposition 8″ in California.

I will be discussing the cases tonight on Ed Schultz on MSNBC around 8:50 pm.

Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer (above) were a couple for 44 years — engaged in 1967 and married in Canada in May 2007. After Thea died, after suffering from multiple sclerosis complications, the federal government refused to recognize the marriage and taxed Edie’s inheritance from Thea.

In Hollingsworth, opponents of same-sex marriage asked the Court to review the ruling by the Ninth Circuit that upheld a lower court order striking down the amendment of the state’s constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage in California. Notably, however, the Ninth Circuit ruled on narrower grounds: that Proposition 8 violated the Constitution because it took away a right to same-sex marriage that had existed in California as a result of a decision by the California Supreme Court. It did not rule on a broader right to same-sex marriage.

The combination of the two cases is telling and historic. It seems to intentionally offer the broadest scope for a possible ruling. That does not mean that the Court will vote such sweeping precedent, of course. These cases can narrow as result of voting blocks on the Court. Must notably, the DOMA case has some serious standing questions, particularly directed at the members of Congress defending the law. However, there is ample basis in these cases to achieve what civil libertarians have long strived to attain: a recognition of a right to same-sex marriage. It is a remarkable change for a Court that has carefully avoided any ruling on the volatile issue for over a decade.

For those of us who have long supported the recognition of this right, this is both exciting and a bit unnerving. The potential of the ruling would be difficult to overstate. It could be the Brown v. Board of Education for gay couples or their Plessey v. Fergusan. I continue to have faith in the natural progression of the law toward the expansion rather than the limitation of human rights and civil rights. It would seem odd to accept such a broad basis for a ruling only to reach a narrow opinion avoiding the main issue. However, this may come down to Justice Kennedy, though it will be interesting to watch Chief Justice Roberts in oral argument. Roberts could avoid recognizing any constitutional right in favor of a state’s right to determine such questions in Hollingsworth. That would still leave the federal question in Windsor however. The point is that there are always “outs” if the Court split 4-4 with a single swing voter. Obviously, I hope that there is a solid majority on the Court to call the answer of history and embrace the right of marriage regardless of the genders of the couple. This is a Court that not long ago ended its shameful history of allowing the criminalization of homosexuality. Justices like Scalia and Thomas continue to espouse this view, but the Court itself has evolved with society. Hopefully this evolution will allow for a final and elevating recognition of the rights of millions of gay and lesbian citizens.

Just this week the Mexican Supreme Court also took a critical step toward such recognition.

Here is the announcement of the Court:

DAN’S CITY USED CARS, INC. V. PELKEY, ROBERT The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted.

OXFORD HEALTH PLANS LLC V. SUTTER, JOHN I. The motion of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States
of America for leave to file a brief as amicus curiae is granted. The motion of DRI – The Voice of the Defense Bar for leave to file a brief as amicus curiae is granted. The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted.

The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted. addition to the question presented by the petition, the are directed to brief and argue the following question:
petitioners have standing under Article III, §2 of the Constitution in this case.

In parties
The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted. In addition to the question presented by the petition, the parties are directed to brief and argue the following questions: Whether the Executive Branch’s agreement with the court below that DOMA is unconstitutional deprives this Court of jurisdiction to decide this case; and whether the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives has Article III standing in this case.

52 thoughts on “Supreme Court Grants Review Of Two Historic Same-Sex Marriage Cases”

  1. Ralph, your comments are just sour grapes, sorry. Also, no adult male comfortable in their own skin makes the kind of silly, jaded commentary regarding gay people that you engage in. Is there something, you know, you’d like to get off your chest? I’ve literally helped hundreds of gay men come out, and you have many of the Signs and Symptoms…

  2. Poor Ralphie, a classic case of engaging in a war of wits badly unarmed.

    What surprises me is that the justices who pretend to want the government out of people lives insist the government simply MUST get into this while the justices that people like Ralphie say want to dictate how we are to live are assumed to be in favor of getting the government out of business of controlling people lives.

    THe worst thing the little 4 have done to the USSC is to make it obvious how easily they can twist their minds into logical pretzels to justify ruling the way they want instead of allowing logic, consistency and the law to make the ruling. I suppose there is always some of that in every court but I don’t know that any justice has made it as obvious as those 4 legal midgets that rule the court. Its no wonder respect for the court is at an all time low

  3. How can the cases be termed “historic” if they are right out of the box and have not even been decided by the Supreme Court? Did you mean “hysteric” or “historectomy”?

  4. There is simply no secular legal justification to uphold DOMA or to prohibit same-sex marriage. The sole arguement stems from the Bible and the long standing tradition based on the Bible (think slavery). It is appalling that any Justice might sit on our nation’s highest court, claim to be experts, scholars, defenders and arbiters of our Constitution and then publically vote to support their personal religious beliefs over the clear dictates of that Constitution. The decision should be 9-0. That said, 6-3 is more likely, because some on the Court do support their religion more than the Constitution and they have no shame about it. .

  5. Mainly agree with Waldo, but last night at dinner I picked 6 – 3. Remember Ted Olson probably will be arguing the case for the pro gay marriage side, and as George Bush’s former Solicitor General he is very simpatico with the republicans on the court.

  6. I am shooting from the hip, but maybe this largely unseen minority of “sexual deviants” is large enough to make a positive Sct judgement equal in effect to the ’54 Brown vs decisiion.

    Let us hope that it is accepted more peacefully and with a shorter resistance, which we still fight, than the Brown one has had.

    I am an easy match, I always soften up when I see people kissing and not fighting. And then if they have kids they love, then what’s to hate.

  7. mespo,

    I hope you’re right. Considering the general beating civil rights have been taking lately, a win would be good.

  8. Darren,

    Some appetizers taste really bad. Some appetizers have really bad taste. Some appetizers are apparently right wingnut homophobic Christo-fascists. You got the better forum for him right though for sure. The more ol’ Ralph posts the more I sympathize with poor Ralph Adamo from New Orleans who doesn’t want anyone to think he’s that guy. It’s enough to make a guy want to change his name.

    To Ralph from NO: We know it’s not you, buddy! Happy Holidays!

  9. What Darren said. We have had a plethora of intellectual wannabes and has-beens trying to match wits with some of the sharpest minds in the blogosphere. It really is not a fair fight. More like a train wreck of fail.

  10. Ralph wrote:

    “Shano and Mike, I am simply wowed by your wit, perspicacity, and verbal verve. Such impressive utterances! Feel better about yourselves, now?”

    Just for clarity sake, you would amount to a mere appetizer if you tried to engage Mike S in a battle of wits and subsequently he had you for lunch. Certainly he wouldn’t be very satiated if you were curious if he felt better about himself afterward. But all you would have to do is keep on typing and make yourself look like a fool even more, garnering a grin or two from them.

    Since you seem to prefer to use metaphors in your attempts at wit, and your subsequent post about Nick shows this; Well how about I offer this.

    it does seem that in order to engage you in a battle of wits, one has to resort to playing marbles, because those marbles are as sharp as your wit is dull and equally as childish a game because all you can do is insult since you don’t have the faculty to engage someone in a lively debate or argument about something with substance beyond the obvious.

    Next time if you want to share your wit and wisdom with others you would consider both worthy and your intellectual peers, I might suggest subscribing to and be a guest contributor.

  11. It’s beginning to sound like one of those Mock Horseracing Announcers on who’s going to win. 🙂

    “…and we’re at the wire, it’s Chief Johnny to win, Raging Kagan behind, and Ruthie Ginsburg by a nose ! “

    I’m going for the 6 to 3 odds and betting my horse “Civil Righteousness” to Win.

  12. Well if Cheney has his way as well as influence….. The Same Sex Marriages will be upheld…..

  13. My prediction is that DOMA gets overturned and the court issues some narrow ruling on Prop 8, thereby avoiding a ruling on whether gay marriage is constitutionally mandated. If the court does address that issue, I suspect it is more likely to deny a constitutional right than to find such a right. From a strategic perspective, I think those supporting a constitutional right to marriage would be better off waiting a few years for a ruling as time is on their side.

  14. Mike, as Islamo-pandering leftist you are automatically submoronic, completely lacking in knowledge and totally incapable of even the most basic reasoning. It shows in you case, and you cannot hide that fact.

    Nick, I hope that your dump was a brain dump. You really need to clear out that extensive waste matter that you’ve accumulated. Maybe you could share some of your brain dump with Mike. He needs all the help he can get. The waste matter would at least fill in some of empty space.

  15. First let’s not insult Attila, he did not concern himself with either religions or sexual preferences.
    Neither did the RCC before 800 CE (guessing on date).
    And yes Adamo, they did make a laughing stock of you. Suck it up, as one hears here occasionally.

    Gene put it right. In my words, the government regulates property, contracts, benefit qualification, insurance, etc. And when they are dependent on a ceremony and legal approval of who may be participants in the ceremony, then we got this mess.

    As Kennedy said, the Framers knew that the world would develop and did not define liberty. It needs to be flexible, if I understand him right.

    Hope this warmed over hash will do. When lacking ideas, approve or disapprove of others’.

  16. Shano and Mike, I am simply wowed by your wit, perspicacity, and verbal verve. Such impressive utterances! Feel better about yourselves, now?

    1. “Feel better about yourselves, now?”


      Actually I do feel better since your utter cluelessness makes me smile, especially because you imagine yourself to be intelligent. I will give you this though, you are a past master of the harangue empty of content and a scholar in your own mind..

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