The Supreme Court justices will meet on Nov. 20 to consider whether the high court will hear a number of marriage equality cases petitioned for review by the court.
According to an announcement made Monday, the justices will review several Defense of Marriage Act cases petitioned before the court as well as the Proposition 8 case, which was distributed to the justices last month. The court is expected to announce which cases it will take up on Nov. 26.
Many suspect the justices held over the Proposition 8 case in order to consider it along with the DOMA challenges. Although many suspect the high court will consider at least one of the DOMA cases, likely issuing a decision by June 2013, the most immediate consequences of their November announcement could come from what they decide to do with the Proposition 8 case.
Indeed, if the Supreme Court decides not to hear Hollingsworth v. Perry same-sex nuptials could resume in California within days of the Nov. 26 announcement.
The challenge to California's Proposition 8, which amended the state's constitution four years ago to ban same-sex marriage, just months after the state had granted that right, arrives at the Supreme Court after being struck down by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Supporters of Proposition 8 petitioned the case after the court of appeals refused to rehear the case in June and hope that the Supreme Court will reverse the lower court's decision and keep the amendment intact.
The appeals court ruled in February that California could not take away rights that the state had previously granted to residents. That ruling came after a U.S. district court also struck down Proposition 8 on the grounds that no state could deny same-sex couples the right to marry.
Attorneys for opponents of Proposition 8 have asked the Supreme Court not to consider the case.
Monday's announcement also comes after the Justice Department urged the court on Friday to take up Edith Windsor's DOMA challenge.
The 83-year-old lesbian widow secured another win earlier this month after the Second Circuit Court of Appeals out of New York struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional and a violation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution. Specifically, the court ruled that "heightened scrutiny" must be applied in the case because of the discrimination gay people have historically faced.
[Photo: Supreme Court building (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).]