USA: Tomorrow Another Possible Day for US Supreme Court Rulings on Marriage Equality

Written by scott on June 16th, 2013

Prop 8 RulingSo far, we have three more announced dates for rulings from the US Supreme Court this month – tomorrow, thursday, and the following monday. And Rachel Maddow’s statement Friday night that some court watchers expected them to come tomorrow, we’ve seen nothing else to support one day over another, other than a general feeling that the biggest rulings usually come at the very end of the term.

So we’ll look at some more of the analysis and speculation today – starting with Antoinette Weil at Edge Boston, who thinks the Prop 8 ruling is particularly difficult to predict:

Another issue of DOMA the SCOTUS must debate is whether the federal government even has the right to regulate marriage, since unions have traditionally been determined by states. This one is tricky: should SCOTUS decide to strike down DOMA on the grounds that the power to grant, deny and recognize marriage is one held sovereignly by each of the states, then not only would there be no declaration of violation of the measure’s Equal Protection Clause, but it would also leave more room for Proposition 8 to be validated. If the merits of each case are not addressed, they could prove to be a hindrance to one another, each issue’s rationale cancelling out the other’s. “This could be really bad,” said Scott Squillace, Esq. who predicted a narrow ruling. “We could win the battle and lose the war if we don’t remember our roles in the system.”

Richard Wolf looks at the complexity of the cases at USA Today:

What happens if legally married couples have moved to a state without same-sex marriage? The section of DOMA that protects those states from having to recognize marriages performed in other states would apply to state benefits, but what about federal benefits? That could be up to President Obama — and future court cases.

What happens to couples in civil unions, from New Jersey to Hawaii, who currently receive virtually the same state benefits as those who are married?

Both good questions. I’m especially interested to hear what happens to married couples who move to a non-marriage equality state, as we have considered moving to Portland, oregon, and most of my family is in Arizona. Does our California marriage transfer for federal purposes?

Sam Baker at The Hill wonders if the Court is taking the huge shift in public opinion into account:

“I have to think the justices — and especially the chief — are very cognizant of the shifting public opinion,” said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond.\0x2028\0x2028 The justices aren’t driven by polling the way elected lawmakers are, but they are often mindful of the court’s credibility. Chief Justice John Roberts, in particular, has shown himself to be an “institutionalist” who wants to protect the court’s legitimacy, Tobias said. That was clear in last year’s decision on ObamaCare.

Alan Greenblatt at NPR suggests that both sides want the fight to continue in the states:

“People forget that durable rights don’t come from courts, they come from consensus and strong support from society,” says Jonathan Rauch, author of Denial, a recent memoir about growing up gay. “We are winning the right to marriage in a bigger, deeper way by winning it in the court of public opinion.” After losing political battles in a majority of states, gay marriage supporters have won a number of legislative victories and ballot measures in recent years. Sensing momentum is in their favor, it may not be surprising that they’re glad they’ve had time to make their case to the public.

I do wonder if a sweeping ruling at this point would really have the same effect as Roe v. Wade did on the abortion fight, given the string and growing public support marriage equality already enjoys.

AFER has a new video out on the hostpry of the Prop 8 fight:

With just days left before the US Supreme Court rules on Proposition 8, AFER has compiled this look back at the last three years of working to attain full federal marriage equality. The American Foundation for Equal Rights is dedicated to protecting and advancing equal rights for every American. As the sole sponsor of the federal court challenge of California’s Proposition 8, known as Perry v. Schwarzenegger, AFER is leading the fight for marriage equality and equality under the law for every American.

Edge Boston reports on the Day of Decision rallies planned to celebrate (or protest) the rulings:

When it does release its decision in the Prop 8 case, rallies are planned to occur that evening in both San Francisco and San Jose. In San Francisco a group of volunteers known as the Day of Decision Committee is planning for a party, hopefully, in the heart of the gay Castro district. Police are expected to shut down the 400 and 500 blocks of Castro Street from 5:30 to 9 p.m. for the event.

You can see the full list of events here.

There’s also a Kiss-In going on online – Queerty reports:

Have you kissed someone for equality today? The Supreme Kiss: Let’s Kiss Inequality Good-bye is a social media campaign launched this spring to raise awareness about marriage equality and equal rights through one of the most universal acts of human expression: a kiss. With decisions on Prop 8 and DOMA expected this month, the Supreme Kiss campaign invites everyone — regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation — to kiss someone they love and share that kiss with the world in an act of solidarity.

And finally, Dan Stein at Scotus Blog lets us know they will be live blogging the Day of Decision:

My name is Dan Stein, and I’m writing from SCOTUSblog to let you know that we will be live blogging when the Supreme Court issues its decisions in the same-sex marriage cases, Perry v. Hollingsworth (Prop 8) and United States v. Windsor (DOMA). We expect the opinions to be announced on or before June 27. A calendar of expected decision days is available here: The Court may be adding additional days, which we will include on the calendar as they are announced. Opinions are announced at 10 a.m. Eastern on decision days.

We’ll probably have the decisions in the next 8 days!


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