Supreme Court Delays Marriage Equality Cases

Posted by Justin Snow
November 13, 2012 5:37 PM |

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Proponents of marriage equailty are facing another delay as the Supreme Court pushed back when it will consider which cases related to same-sex marriage the high court will hear.

Although many same-sex-marriage supporters had their sights set on Nov. 20, when the nine Supreme Court justices were originally scheduled to meet in conference to decide whether to take up the case challenging California's Proposition 8 as well as several challenges to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, those cases will now be considered on Nov. 30.

The Washington Post's Robert Barnes first reported the rescheduled conference date on Nov. 11.

At the start of the high court's new term in October, the justices held over the Proposition 8 case until after Election Day, most likely so they could consider it along with the several DOMA cases petitioned for review by the court.

Many legal scholars expect the court to hear arguments on at least one of the challenges to Section 3 of DOMA, although a ruling on the 1996 law, which forbids federal recognition of same-sex unions, is unlikely to come until June 2013.

It remains to be seen if the court will consider the Proposition 8 case, which could have the most immediate impact. If the court announces it will not hear Hollingsworth v. Perry, then the decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals against Proposition 8 will stand and same-sex marriages could resume in California within a day.

Proposition 8 was approved by California voters in 2008 and amended the state's constitution to ban same-sex marriages after the state had already granted that right to gay couples.

Plaintiffs in the case have asked the high court not to hear the case, partly on the basis that each day gay Californians' right to marry is denied "is a day that can never be returned to them — a wrong that can never be remedied."

Under that reasoning, the court's delay is another 10 days the right to marry is denied to California same-sex couples.

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