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Supreme Court to Hear Two Same-Sex Marriage Cases, Be Fabulous

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Slade Sohmer

By Slade Sohmer on December 7, 2012

Mark it down: Unless the Supreme Court punts at the last minute, the watershed moment for marriage rights in this country will come in March 2013.

The United States Supreme Court announced on Friday it will take its first real-deal look at the issue of marriage equality in America.

The Court granted a review of California’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage, and DOMA, the federal law signed by president Bill Clinton that legally defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

• SEE ALSO: Election Day: States Where Gays Can Marry Inches Much Closer to Where You Can Marry Your Cousin

Long-time Supreme Court watcher Lyle Denniston over at SCOTUSblog says, “There is a good deal of complexity in the marriage orders, but the bottom line is this: 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. That probably depends upon how eager the Justices are to get to the merits; if they are having trouble getting to 5 on the merits, they may just opt out through one of the procedural devices they have offered up as potentials.”

Denniston also wrote on his live-blog, “Although the Court is ruling on Prop. 8, there is nothing in the order that would lift the 9th CA’s stay. So marriage licenses in Calif. will have to wait until this case is decided.”

DOMA plaintiff Edith Windsor told The Guardian, “I feel delirious with joy, I think it’s wonderful. “I think it’s the beginning of justice like I imagined in fourth grade civics. I’m thrilled at how it’s gone.”

The arguments in the same-sex marriage cases will be heard around March 25-27, with the decision coming around June 27.

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin sent an email to supporters, writing, in part: “A win in either of these cases would mark an incredible, decisive point in this movement’s history, one I’ve been working toward since I helped bring the Prop. 8 case as co-founder of the American Foundation for Equal Rights. Extreme right-wing leaders are going to immediately rally their base around today’s announcement – claiming the Court can’t outpace public opinion. Thankfully though a majority of Americans support marriage equality. We have to counteract the other side with one booming, united voice for marriage equality.”

Check out Chris Geidner’s post for more insight and analysis.

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