Two cases relating to same-sex marriage reach the U.S. Supreme Court

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December 10, 2012

California

By Eric Veram

SACRAMENTO, California: On Friday, December 7, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would hear two separate cases relating to the rights of same-sex couples. The first case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, is an appeal of the circuit court ruling that struck down California's Proposition 8. The proposition was originally thrown out by federal judges in agreement with a lawsuit arguing that California voters had violated the U.S. Constitution in overriding a state supreme court ruling allowing same-sex marriage. If the Supreme Court affirms the decision, it could result in a ruling that determines that the Constitution requires all states to allow same-sex marriage, not just California.[1][2]

The second, U.S. v. Windsor, regards a challenge to sections of the federal 1996 Defense of Marriage Act which defines marriage as between one man and one woman for the purposes of federal programs and benefits. The case is an appeal of a circuit court ruling declaring Section 3 of the law unconstitutional. Parties for both cases, however, have been asked by the Supreme Court to prepare briefs arguing whether or not appeals of the lower court decisions are legal. A ruling is not expected until March 2013.[1][2]

The Court's decision to hear the cases comes just as Washington's Referendum 74, which legalizes same-sex marriage, takes effect. In the 2012 general election, three states, Maine, Maryland, and Washington, became the first states to legalize same-sex marriage via popular referendum.

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