Contrary to many people’s expectations, the U.S. Supreme Court did not issue any orders last Friday or today in any of the four challenges to a provision of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), in the Hollingsworth v. Perry case challenging California’s Proposition 8, or in Brewer v. Diaz (Lambda Legal’s case that has preserved domestic partner health insurance coverage for families of lesbian and gay Arizona state employees). The next time we may hear from the Court about what it plans to do regarding these cases is this coming Friday, December 7.
The Court generally doesn’t explain the reason for delays in issuing orders. While some people are understandably feeling frustrated with the delays given all that is riding on these lawsuits, it should be recognized that the Court’s decisions about which case or cases to hear right now involve a good deal of complexity.
The main issue in the DOMA challenges is the same: whether DOMA violates the Constitution’s guarantee of equality for the federal government to discriminate against same-sex couples by treating them as single, while recognizing all other validly entered marriages. However, the particular federal programs involved in each case are somewhat different, and there are numerous
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