Supreme Court to Review DOMA and Prop 8 Cases Next Month
The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday that it would meet privately in late November to discuss whether to hear cases that challenge California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, San Diego Gay & Lesbian News reports.
On Nov. 20, the justices will meet in private to decide if they will review Hollingsworth v. Perry, which challenges California’s Prop 8 -- a measure that was enacted in 2008 that bans same-sex marriages in the state. The judges will also review a number of cases that challenge DOMA, a federal law put into effect in 1996 that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
"For far too long, gay and lesbian couples in California have been waiting to exercise the fundamental freedom to marry that the United States Constitution already tells them they have," Adam Umhoefer, executive director of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, the sponsor of the Perry case, said. "With the distribution of our case for the Court’s consideration, we move one step closer to the day when the nation will be able to live up to the promise of liberty and equality enshrined in our Constitution, and all Americans will be able to marry the person they love."
In 2009, the Perry case was filed in federal District Court on behalf of two same-sex couples, Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, and Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo. In February of this year the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an August 2010 ruling from the District Court that found Prop 8 to be unconstitutional. In July, however, those who back Prop 8 asked the Supreme Court to review the Ninth Circuit’s ruling.
The justices will decide whether to hear a number of other cases related to DOMA as well. At least four judges need to agree whether the Supreme Court will hear a specific case.
If the court decides against hearing the Prop 8 case, same-sex couples in California will once again be allowed to marry just a few days after the decision. The high court is expected to make its announcement on Nov. 26.
"For generations, Americans have looked to the Supreme Court to uphold the fundamental tenets of our constitution and on November 20th, the court will face those questions once again for the LGBT community," Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin, who is also the co-founder of American Foundation for Equal Rights, said in a statement. "Never before have the justices confronted so many cases critical to the lives of LGBT people and our families. With truth and justice on our side, I know that we will prevail in knocking down the dark walls of discrimination known as Prop 8 and DOMA."