Bil Browning

Supreme Court Will Hear DOMA & Prop 8 Cases

Filed By Bil Browning | December 07, 2012 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA, Edith Windsor, Prop 8, Supreme Court, Supreme Court DOMA

The Supreme Court announced today that they will accept one of the DOMA cases and the Prop 8 case that is California specific. Since the court announced that they will take the Prop 8 case, same-sex couples cannot get married until the case is decided; Thumbnail image for judge-gavel.jpgif the court had declined the case, marriages could have resumed immediately.

The long-awaited announcement, first reported by SCOTUSblog, puts Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines "marriage" and "spouse" in all federal laws as being limited to marriages between one man and one woman, squarely before the nine justices in the case of Edith Windsor.

The court also accepted the request by the supporters of California's Proposition 8 that the justices hear an appeal of that case, in which the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the law as unconstitutional.

Windsor sued in 2010 after she was forced to pay more than $350,000 in estate taxes after the death of her wife, Thea Spyer. Had either Windsor or Spyer been a man, her lawyers Windsor would not have had to pay the tax on the estate.

The court takes on consideration of DOMA's constitutionality after two federal appeals courts have declared it to be unconstitutional this year. A handful of other federal trial court judges have concurred, and two of those cases also were presented as possible options for the court.

The court will also look at whether or not the proponents of Prop 8 have standing to argue on behalf of the defense. A previous ruling has said they do not because it's up to the government. California's Governor and Attorney General have declined to defend the law, saying they found it to be unconstitutional.

The court will like hear the cases in March and they issue all decisions by June at the latest. It's likely that the court won't make any further announcements about the other DOMA cases until a decision is made on whether or not it is unconstitutional via the Windsor case.

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