High court and gay marriage: A 'major event in American history'
December 7th, 2012
07:04 PM ET

High court and gay marriage: A 'major event in American history'

[Updated at 7:04 p.m. ET] The U.S. Supreme Court's announcement Friday that it will soon tackle the contentious issue of same-sex marriage is "a major event in American history, not just in Supreme Court history," CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said.

"The Supreme Court is not just going to decide whether the Defense of Marriage Act is constitutional, they are also going to decide whether Proposition 8 in California whether the ban on same-sex marriage there is unconstitutional, and that could affect all 50 states," Toobin said.

The court says it will hear two appeals: one involving the federal Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA, which denies federal benefits to same-sex couples legally married in their own state; and one involving a challenge to California's Proposition 8, a voter-approved referendum that took away the right of same sex-marriage that previously had been approved by the state's courts. Read more about these cases.

Oral arguments in the high court appeal will likely be held in March, with a ruling by late June.

Here's some of what's being said about Friday afternoon's announcement:

Edith Windsor, who had a 42-year partnership with Thea Clara Spyer and is behind the DOMA case, told the Guardian's Adam Gabbat that she is "delirious with joy."

"I think it's wonderful," Windsor, 83, of New York, told the UK publication. "I think it's the beginning of justice like I imagined in fourth-grade civics. I'm thrilled at how it's gone."

In October, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found, in Windsor's favor, that DOMA violates the Constitution's equal protection clause and thus she shouldn't have had to pay an inheritance tax after her partner's death.

Some opponents of same-sex marriage also welcomed the high court's intervention. The National Organization for Marriage, a group that helped lead the effort to pass Proposition 8 in California, said it was confident of prevailing.

In February, a federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled the measure unconstitutional.

"We believe (the Supreme Court's decision to take the case) is a strong signal that the court will reverse the lower courts and uphold Proposition 8," said John Eastman, chairman of the National Organization for Marriage. "That is the right outcome based on the law and based on the principle that voters hold the ultimate power over basic policy judgments and their decisions are entitled to respect."

Salvatore Cordileone, archbishop of San Francisco and the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' marriage defense subcommittee, said the high court's decision to consider the cases "is a significant moment for our nation."

"I pray the Court will affirm the fact that the institution of marriage, which is as old as humanity and written in our very nature, is the union of one man and one woman," Cordileone said in a statement from the conference. "Marriage is the foundation of a just society, as it protects the most vulnerable among us, children.

"It is the only institution that unites children with their mothers and fathers together. We pray for the court, that its deliberations may be guided by truth and justice so as to uphold marriage's true meaning and purpose."

More reaction from politicians, organizations and others:

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson:

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.:

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom:

Justin Mikita, co-founder of TieTheKnot.org, which advocates "for the civil rights of gay and lesbian Americans":

Jessie Tyler Ferguson, another TieTheKnot.org co-founder and Mikita's finance:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi:

Gay-marriage case: Financial benefits at stake

Same-sex couple sues federal government in DOMA case

Catholic Notre Dame announces services for gay students

Victory for lesbian, years after her longtime partner's death


Filed under: Same-sex marriage • Supreme Court
soundoff (534 Responses)
  1. GK

    Let's hope they do the right thing and don't cave to pressure.

    December 7, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mikey

      And what is the "right thing?"

      December 7, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Come on

      What is just.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Terry

      I'm sure you think the "right thing" is that which is right not that which is from the right!

      December 7, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Terry

      GK, I'm sure you think the "right thing" is that which is right not that which is from the right!

      December 7, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Primal 4 Life

    It's already legal in Washington. Hopefully they will do the right thing ad make it legal everywhere.

    December 7, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • jnpa

      The Supreme Court's decision will probably be a cop-out leaving it up individual states. However, that would create problems at the federal level.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • lroy

      Wrong. Many decades ago, the supreme court made a decision that enabled 54 MILLION human beings to be aborted. The supreme court is NOT above the laws of nature or of God.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      'The supreme court is NOT above the laws of nature or of God.'

      actually, they pretty much are. partly because the laws of nature arent actually laws, and secondly because a person's personal faith in a deity has no place in making the laws

      December 7, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • MDAT

      It is not murder if it is not alive.We do need to cut back on population.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deb D.

      What cedar rapids said.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Russell's Teapot

      Correction, 54 million fetuses... I hardly consider one to be human if they lack sentience. But that's just me, while you on the other hand only care about the welfare of the aforementioned fetus until it born, at which point its on its own. Try again.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Beck

    EQUAL rights means EVERYONE, just just those who live according to other people's "morals."

    December 7, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Blue Dog

      Or morals decided by a book written 2000 years back.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Renee

      you said perfectly!!

      December 7, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Richard

    Of course gays should be able to get married, and divorced, just liike the rest of Americans! lol

    December 7, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • lroy

      According to the laws of nature, it is not a marriage, so there can be no divorce.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeebus

      Marriage is a contract made by man. I have been to the library many times and have never seen a book about the laws of nature. Is that something you can specialize in as a lawyer?

      December 7, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • david

      Iroy, I've search everywhere, can't seem to find any source for your "laws of nature". But I did find the definition of Iroy, it means complete tool.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. woodie

    Allow me to sum this up. Anybody can marry another person, place, or thing. Good luck to you. Make sure you pay your taxes otherwise it is a waste of government resources.

    December 7, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mikey

      Actually, taxes is one of the issues. If states allow gay marriage, why can't the file a joint Federal return? That's discrimination... Or in the case of the NY couple who were married, when her spouse died, the survivor had to pay approx $380,000 in additional tax that had the Fed Govt recognized her LEGAL marriage, she would not have had to pay.. That too is classic discrimination.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deb D.

      Once again, this argument is completely ridiculous; and once again, it reveals a complete ignorance (or is it disregard?) of the concept of consent. Thank you for showing the world what a fool you are.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deb D.

      Just to be clear, my reply was to woodie. Mikey, you're absolutely correct.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Your summation skills need a lot of work. Nothing in any law says anything about marying objects. This is purely about two, consenting, adult humans. Does that clear your confusion?

      December 7, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Akr

    Great news – hopefully, sanity will be restored in CA, where an out-of-state Mormon group as able to deny hundreds of thousands of human beings their right to marry.

    December 7, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • dm

      Those out of state Mormons didn't vote in California, and if the people of California are so pliable as to be swayed by out of staters...

      December 7, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. BOB SMITH

    Take IN GOD WE TRUST off the money now if this has to be debated.God set the standard for marriage, so obviously you don't believe in what He has said HEATHENS.

    December 7, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • snowboarder

      marriage existed long before the invention of your god.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      good plan, it has no place being on the money in the first place.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • mdmich

      Amen to that! ;)

      December 7, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • RedskinsFan

      We added "In God We Trust" to money is the 1950s as a way to stick it to the Communists. There was nothing religious about it. And we have a separation of church and state in this country... it should never have been on there to begin with. And, if being like you is the other option... I'm proud to be a heathen. People like you take the Bible and use it as a way to justify that you are better than the rest of humanity. There is no brotherhood or compassion in your Bible for those not like you. Jesus would be ashamed of you.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wrong

      IN GOD WE TRUST first appeared on the 1864 two-cent coin.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anne Sardina

      Bob, guess they haven't heard of SODOM and GOMORRAH... or they definetly are heathens, loved your response.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boo

      It's 2012...the 21st century..wish you were here.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boo

      It's 2012...the 21st century...wish you were here.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tiredoldman

      I have. I also have heard of Easter Bunny and Santa Clause. For every one case you can claim of people being smitten by god in recent history I can show you hundreds of "goodly" people being ignored and suffering horrible deaths as they prayed for salvation.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Russell's Teapot

      That's your argument? Sodom and Gomorrah? Might be better to choose an example that doesn't put on display the wrath and capricious whim of the OT. But hey, if you wanna cite genocide as something to be commended I suppose that is your prerogative.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • M

      Anne grab a map and point to Sodom and Gomorrah on a map for me? Can't find it? Really? Neither can any archaeologist...it is allegory, not reality.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kyle

      FYI there is more than one religion is this country. A true Christian learning from the bible knows you should not judge others based on what they believe in or what they do to themselves. It's their personal business.

      Mathew 7
      1“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jewkester

      Gay marriage is sick and wrong! It is open mockery to God and the powerful gifts he has given us. I do not hate gay people, but I do realize the what they are doing is a choice, therefore I don't think they should be given any "special treatment." Several times in the Bible it talks about morality and the consequences of immorality. Read Genesis my friend. Look for "Soddam and Gamorah" (pardon my spelling, it's probably incorrect).

      December 7, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • tomnikoly

      "Take IN GOD WE TRUST off the money"

      As well it should be. It should not have been put on in the first place.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • surf for sun

      Bob, for the sake of the children of the world, please evolve.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul X

      OH PUHLEEZE!!!! God is no doubt ashamed of all the idiots who sit there and read the Bible as their truth...grow a pair and think for yourself, all right? And leave the gays alone and crawl back into your damn cave.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      'guess they haven't heard of SODOM and GOMORRAH'

      ah yes, where the ever loving god killed every living being, including children and babies, because apparently they were all gay, even the married couples that were having the babies.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Salty DOG

      isn't that the one that the woman got turned to salt just for looking back

      December 7, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Buster

      Actually the passage says it was because they were arrogant, overfed, and did not help the poor.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick D.

      In God We Trust has only been on the money since the 1950's Red Scare, which is a violation of Separation of Church and State. I agree, it should be removed. This is a secular nation.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • JD

      "I don't care if my neighbor believes in 20 Gods or no God. It doesn't pick my pocket, nor break my leg." Thomas Jefferson.
      In God We Trust was put on the money in the 1950s, we should take it off our money. We are a secular society, not a Theocracy. Believe what you want, but don't expect laws be made to enforce your fantasy land or deny the rights of others because of it.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      I don't care who or what's on our currency as long as it is accepted by the market place. Do you think of God's trust when we buy those casino chips in Vegas?

      December 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • He-THEN worshipper

      yes – take god off the money. and tell those priest I don't have to give him that 10% anymore
      his name is no longer on it

      December 7, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad McR

      By that measure we should have taken it off long time ago. When we started throwing the old pigskin around. Or when businesses were left open on Sunday. Or when we started growing multiple crops on the same field as a matter of national farming policy. Or when we started allowing multi-fiber clothing (Cotton AND polyester OH MY!). Or when we cut our hair and shaved our bodies. Oh and we should kill all who are of different religions (Deuteronomy).
      HEATHENS!

      December 7, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      'but I do realize the what they are doing is a choice,'

      jeez, ok, it isnt, it really isnt. They no more choose to be gay than you or I choose to be straight. I cant believe people still actually believe this nonsense

      December 7, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • JD

      God said nothing about gay marriage. Jesus said nothing about gay marriage (which could be considered by some religions as God as well.) Many books were not included in the King James Bible. Why not? People (man) decided they weren't fit for their vision of God. So 1800 years later, you deem that your belief in this is more righteous than those that don't? You are not an American. Period. We believe in religious freedom and that means freedom from religion as well.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. clown

    Ban it for eternity. A disgusting lifestyle.

    December 7, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ben

      You name says it all!

      December 7, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • timmaahhyy

      I could say the same about a lot of "lifestyle" choices. The real question is what difference does it make to you?

      December 7, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Interesting. An anonymous troll named "Clown" is commenting on the "lifestyle" of others.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • abkohler06

      Clown... that is all that you are... now dance for me you ignorant piece of useless flesh

      December 7, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • randy

      I agree–Let's ban MARRIAGE! It's a disgusting lifestyle!

      December 7, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      when straights stop giving birth to gays, let me know.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cogito

      lol @ Randy...SPOT on.

      December 8, 2012 at 6:04 am | Report abuse |
  9. snowboarder

    i can't imagine what basis they could use to continue to allow the denial of rights.

    December 7, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bill in Colorado Springs

      Then you're not a learned person. Several states have voted to outlaw it. That is the basis. You don't have to like it, but it's what we call democracy

      December 7, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • MrJ.

      Yes Bill... the basis of the Supreme Court case is that several states have banned it... the question was referring to the basis of THE BAN. Why was it banned? It's not something that can be chosen and the gay community it being forced to conform to a societal norm that tells them to be who they want to be, but only in the way that we want you to be. How is that right and fair?

      December 7, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • kernel85

      Nor can I imagine what in the Constitution could be justifiably used to deny "equal protection under the law" which means that everyone has the same rights. We do not vote on people's rights in this country.

      December 7, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. dazzle ©

    Doesn't the Supreme Court have better things to do. Personally I don't care who people choose to love.

    December 7, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • snowboarder

      apparently that feeling is not universal. too many people work tirelessly to deny other people that simple right.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • GRH

      You may not personally care who people "choose" to love, but the rights that gay couples are denied matter. Those people matter, and they need the Supreme Court to stand up and give them their rights. This is 2012, and we call ourselves a progressive, secular nation. Until everyone has equal rights and religion stops being a factor in making laws that just isn't true.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. curtisj

    It's also about federal benefits....social security, pensions, etc. that can pass on to surviving spouse's.

    December 7, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Hodor

    Hodor!

    December 7, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. trilexcom

    marriage is only between Men and Woman. Gay people have no right to get married.

    December 7, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • MDAT

      They do.They have natural rights.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • timmaahhyy

      Says who? The Bible? We are not a Christian nation.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deb D.

      "Men and Woman" – isn't that bigamy? LOL

      December 7, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • arothmanmusic

      I have yet to hear anyone make an argument about why gay people should not be allowed to marry that isn't based on religion. Heck... I haven't even yet heard a good argument on why the government should have to "allow" people to get married regardless of their gender. It's a contract that affords special privileges to a sub-set of society, so it's already discriminatory... why make it even more so? If the state is going to rubber-stamp personal relationships and give the lucky folks who find a person who can stand them special treatment, there's no good reason why that should require them to have opposite genders. Anyone who says otherwise is either being irrational.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      trilex....the supreme court said marriage is a civil right.

      if this bothers you, leave

      on the bus,or under it makes no never mind to me

      December 7, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Eric Inzauro

    I pay my taxes, go to college and work two jobs. I should be able to be marry like anyone else, "The life liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

    December 7, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. JLK

    Maryland began issuing licenses also yesterday.

    December 7, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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