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USA: More Prop 8 / DOMA Speculation As Ruling Nears

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

US Supreme CourtIt could be tomorrow. As we wait, once again, for a possible Day of Decision Thursday, we’ve rounded up some more analysis and speculation on the case for you.

To start, Lisa Keen at Queerty brings us her thoughts on two more Supreme Curt Justices. First, Clarence Thomas:

In his personal dissent to the Lawrence v. Texas decision striking down sodomy laws in 2003, Thomas wrote, “If I were a member of the Texas Legislature, I would vote to repeal it. Punishing someone for expressing his sexual preference through noncommercial consensual conduct with another adult does not appear to be a worthy way to expend valuable law enforcement resources.” And yet he voted against striking the law. In fact, though it is a close call, his record is the worst among the conservatives on the bench.

She puts the offs of his voting for marriage equality in both cases at 1 in 6.

Next, she looks at Stephen Breyer:

It remains to be seen whether Breyer’s tough line of questioning persuaded the chief justice to consider the perils of the procreation argument. But it was a fair example of how Breyer works. He is the wonky justice comfortable sparring with his conservative colleagues. He’s done so frequently in public with the court’s most conservative member, Antonin Scalia. Born in San Francisco and raised in Massachusetts, Breyer’s liberal bent should surprise few. His voting record on LGBT-related cases tracks that of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Ken puts his odds for supporting equality in both cases at 3 to 1.

Over at the Huffington Post, they are reporting on one of the attorneys in the prop eight case speculating on the possible Supreme Court decision:

Boies conceded that proponents of Proposition 8, the California law banning same-sex marriage, could end up losing because the court will rule that they were ineligible to appeal a lower court ruling that the law was unconstitutional. A victory on those grounds would be a victory for Boies and his fellow lawyer Ted Olson, but not the one they wanted. “The question is, do those people have a standing to come before the court and defend it? Under Supreme Court precedent, they probably do not have standing,” Boies said. “The court is very restrictive in terms of to whom they grant standing, and they never granted standing to private citizens who do not have a fiduciary relationship to the state. And one way that the court could solve this particular case is to hold that these people do not have standing.” Under this scenario, same-sex marriage would be made legal in California, but the issue of it is a constitutional right would be left unaddressed. Other states, in short, would be unaffected.

Over at the Washington Post,Chris Cillizza makes some interesting points about the new Pew study on media bias over the marriage equality issue. Among them:

There is a bit of chicken and egg going on here. Lots and lots of polling done over the last few months suggests that public opinion is in fact moving – across virtually every demographic measure — in favor of legalization of same sex marriage. So, while the Pew study does show real and significant opposition to allowing gay people to marry, the coverage focuses on what’s new(s), which is the movement toward legalization.

And another study, researchers at the University of California Riverside found that there will likely be little public backlash if the Supreme Court issues a positive ruling on marriage equality. UCR Today reports:

The researchers conducted online experiments in which people were asked to react to a state supreme court ruling allowing gay marriage and assigned the participants to read articles about the legalization of gay rights in Oregon, a gay pride parade and gun-control policy. A second experiment compared subjects’ reactions before and after U.S. Supreme Court hearings on California’s Proposition 8 and on restrictions on marriage recognition and benefits contained in the federal Defense of Marriage Act. There was no evidence of opinion backlash on the issue of gay marriage in either experiment. In fact, contrary to theories of backlash, experiment participants viewed gays and lesbians more warmly after the Supreme Court hearings than participants did before, the researchers found.

So we hold our collective breath again tomorrow morning at 10 AM Eastern and hope for a good set of rulings…

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