Current Weather
The Spy FM

Supreme Court To Review Gay Marriage Cases

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
December 7, 2012

The Supreme Court has decided to take up cases involving California’s Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage, and a provision of the Defense of Marriage Act.

NPR’s Nina Totenberg tells our Newscast Desk that while a ruling on the federal measure’s constitutionality was anticipated, the decision to take up Prop. 8 was not:

“Defying most expectations, the justices said they will examine two cases, presenting the possibility that the court could decide all the issues surrounding same-sex marriage in one fell swoop.”

The Associated Press reports the case regarding California’s ban on same-sex marriage “could give the justices the chance to rule on whether gay Americans have the same constitutional right to marry as heterosexuals.”

As Nina reported in October, the Defense of Marriage Act “defines marriage as being only between a man and a woman, meaning that the federal government is barred from recognizing same-sex marriages even when they are legal and recognized by state law.”

With regards to DOMA, the AP says the court will decide “whether Congress can deprive legally married gay couples of federal benefits otherwise available to married people.” It adds:

“A provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act limits a range of health and pension benefits, as well as favorable tax treatment, to heterosexual couples.”

In its live blog covering the development, the ScotusBlog reports, “The Court has offered to rule on Prop. 8 and on DOMA Section 3, but it also has given itself a way not to decide either case.”

Update at 4:35 p.m. ET. Rulings May Be Limited:

The possibility that the court could hear two cases without deciding them may seem unusual to anyone who doesn’t closely track the goings-on of the nation’s highest court. But at least a partial explanation is that the Supreme Court might confine itself to considering jurisdiction in the cases, rather than the merits of the claims.

In their court order accepting the Defense of Marriage Act case, the justices agreed to determine “whether the Executive Branch’s agreement with the court below that DOMA is unconstitutional deprives this Court of jurisdiction to decide this case; and whether the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives has Article III standing in this case.”

That order refers to Windsor v. U.S., a case in which a federal appeals court ruled in favor of the plaintiff, Edith Windsor, 83.

As Joel Rose reported in October, “The plaintiff… married her longtime partner in Canada in 2007. When her partner died two years later, Windsor was forced to pay more than $360,000 in federal estate taxes on her inheritance — taxes she would not have paid if the federal government recognized her marriage as valid.”

As Eyder reported yesterday, gay couples in Washington state are taking advantage of their new right to marry, which was conveyed to them via popular vote. Voters in Maine and Maryland approved similar ballot measures last month. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

Leave a Reply

12AM to 5AM The Spy

The Spy

An eclectic mix of the Spy's library of more than 10,000 songs curated by Ferris O'Brien.

Listen Live Now!

5AM to 9AM Morning Edition

Morning Edition

For more than two decades, NPR's Morning Edition has prepared listeners for the day ahead with two hours of up-to-the-minute news, background analysis, commentary, and coverage of arts and sports.

View the program guide!

9AM to 10AM The Takeaway

The Takeaway

A fresh alternative in morning news, "The Takeaway" provides a breadth and depth of world, national and regional news coverage that is unprecedented in public media.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center