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. Hitman

    The Supreme Court will find that gay marriage is a joke!

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

      And your reasoning is? Apparently it is you that's the joke. Maybe it's time for you to join the adult world.

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

      Thanks for your intellectually stunning argument. And this is why you, and bigots like you, will lose.

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

      No, they're going to find that there's no legal basis for defining marriage as only being between one man and one woman. It's actually a black & white issue, and the only possible legal outcome is obvious.

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

      Said someone who was a surprise.

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

      That is just what the Klan said about interracial marriages a few years back.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ddon

    GOD made Adam and Eve ..... Not Adam and Steve, I want them to Ban and Destroy this sick Law

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

      its funny that's all you xtains got!

      lets just ignore the talking snake, or the fact that adam and eve's kids would have had to do the nasty to keep the population going....

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

      All men have natural rights.Religion cannot interfere with them.Anyways,there is no adam and eve.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick D.

      You do realize that "banning this sick law" means repealing Proposition 8 (Which bans gay marriage) and the Defense of Marriage Act (which bans federal recognition of gay marriages) right? They aren't hearing cases against laws legalizing gay marriage, they are hearing cases about laws that ban it. Get your facts together before you pop off at the mouth. <3

      December 7, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • BlessedX5

      AMEN Ddon!! This is BLASHPEMY!

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

      God doesn't exist. And we evolved from lower life forms. Adam and Eve are fiction.

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

      Adam & Eve are part of a larger myth.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • David B.

      God Made Gay people Gay. The straights are the ones who have the Gays and complain. Get over it & Grow Up!

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

      yes please ban all gay crap so they can do everything in there privacy of there home. i don't wanna hear about gay people marriage again is between Man and woman. there is no if or but about it .

      December 7, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • matin47

      have you graduated from common sense school? or should i teach you some common sense ?

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

      Of course I made Steve. I made everything and everyone. Where do you think he came from? Some other God? Sheesh! I knew I should have put that clause in the Bible.

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

    Hopefully once and for all the court will agree with the natural law that "a marriage" is defined as between "one man and one woman", not 2,3, 4, or more men, women, plus a dog, horse,cat, or whatever.

    GLBT can have their own "gay pal agreements" "gay buddy packs" "boy, boy toy, dog clubs "and "girl,girl,cat comunes" but, it is not, nor should it ever be called a marriage.

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

      :)

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

      Yeah, inter-racial marriage was called an abomination 40 years ago. Wanna stick to that?

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

      You have to be kidding. If not, you're completely detached from the world and need educated.

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

      Enjoy losing.

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

      I find it ironic that some people like DJ have to equate the love between two people to beastiality. and they say WE'RE the perverts. lol!

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

      Let us know when you want to be taken seriously DJ.

      December 8, 2012 at 5:59 am | Report abuse |
  4. John Doe

    I like bacon!!!

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

      mmmmmmmmmmmmm BLT's

      December 7, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. snowdogg

    Why is this a matter of concern to the Supreme Court?

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

      Because this is a civil rights issue......

      December 7, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • ML

      Mostly likely on 10th Amendment (States rights vs the federal DOMA and the implication of federal preemption) and 14th Amendment (due process and equal protection) grounds.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Owl96

      Its a concern of the Court because a law was passed and someone appealed it. SCOTUS has the ability to accept appeals. Since this will affect laws between States (recognition of acts of one State by another State) they have decided to rule on the appeal. That is what they do.

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

      How about you research a little bit, even google it. It's called intellectual curiosity, it's what smart people do.

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

      This is a matter that only Batman can handle.

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

      I can't even believe you asked that question.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mark

    I don't care what your religion says. You don't trample on other people's civil rights. You can't hide behind religion. If you oppose treating gay people the same as straight people, you are a bigot. Period.

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

      Well said!

      December 7, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Law Student

    Where can I find the order?

    December 7, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Josh

    Does anyone know which of the several possible cases, that the Supreme Court chose?

    There was one, but the plaintiffs was married in Canada, which made it slightly off point.

    December 7, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Corgidad

    States rights? Do you think I'd ever be able to get married to my partner in the State of Georgia? This is about CIVIL RIGHTS, not a popularity contest in each state.

    December 7, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jones

    It will be just like the US civil war all over again: the states dividing up and fighting against the government overstepping it's bound by dicating to the states what the law will be. The civil war next year after the SC ruling will be the same – over states rights.

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

      Overstepping its bounds? Yeah, slavery should've been left to the states, apparently.

      December 7, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bring it.

      Maybe we can get rid of the South and its bigoted cohorts once and for all.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mitch

    Marriage for all, its gonna happen!

    December 7, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. alain

    omg omg omg omg I'm squirming so much from the excitement! Too bad we have to wait until June :(

    December 7, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. raphias

    The proposition was legally approved by the Californian electorate.

    Upholding it is the only legal thing to do!

    Otherwise why have a voting system.

    The Ninth Circuit Court was wrong to not uphold the proposition.

    Watch what happens now!!!!!!!!!

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

      What happens now is that the supreme court finds that there's no legal basis for defining marriage as only existing between one man and one woman. Because there is no such legal basis.

      As for Prop 8 or whatever else, the reason that this country isn't a democracy (it's a republic) is because the majority can easily abuse a minority in a democracy. Prop 8 is nothing more than a minority being abused by a majority. Hence, it can't be legal – and is fundamentally immoral.

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

      If the majority decide that all boys born on the 2nd day of every month have to be castrated to help stop overpopulation is that okay? The majority decided it? The structure of our government protects against mob rule.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Primewonk

      However, the proposition itself was unconstîtutional. It could have passed with 99.9% approval. It was still unconstîtutional.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. alex

    Finally some equality! Now gays have to deal with nagging spouses and divorces like the rest of us!

    December 7, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Cboice

    Hopefully they will vote for equal rights and not active discrimination.

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