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. DJ

    Most Americans hope that the Supreme Court outlaws so called "gay marriage" and declares all of those phony licenses issued by those gay friendly states to be "null and void" once and for all.

    Maybe they can than all defect to a deserted Island in a gay friendly nation...

    December 7, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • mm1970

      "Most?" It's actually something pretty close to 50/50.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      not most americans....look at the statistics and get your head out of the sand. The majority of Americans are not opposed to gay marriage. However, if you're worried about a man trying to marry you...don't...you're one of the safest people on the planet...no self respecting gay man would consider you as a spouse!.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • medlab1701

      Sorry DJ, we're staying right here, and you're going to see alot more of us holding hands, out with our kids and families, at your PTA meetings, your yard sales, everywhere. No more hiding, no more shame, no more feeling "less than" your family, your patriotism, or your civil rights.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. trilexcom

    i guess the next marriage is between Man and Goat. or Man and a Child lol gay marriage is disgusting.

    December 7, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • medlab1701

      Neither a goat or a child is a consenting adult. and marriage establishes legal kinship so no, i don't have to agree to siblings getting married or parents marrying adult children getting married to be in favor of marriage equality between two adults, because the legal kinship already exists for family members already related.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • matin47

      like i said Marriage is only between Man and Woman not goat or child or another man. its just common sense.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan I

      Goat: Non-sentient animal incapable of giving consent to a marriage arrangement. If you can find a goat that can speak and give its informed consent you go right ahead and marry it.

      Child: Statutorily defined as not being able to give consent to contractual relationships. Again, legally cannot give consent

      Your arguments fail.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • matin47

      like i said Marriage is only between Man and Woman not goat or child or another man. its just common sense

      December 7, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    The Supreme Court is not a church.
    The government of the USA is not a church.
    I support the right of straight couples to marry.
    I support the right of gay couples to marry.

    December 7, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. AweStruck

    Quote: "The court put out a one-page order this afternoon on what is set to become one of the most important cases in the court's history."

    Really? One of the most important cases in the history of the supreme court? Can you say hyperbole? Please.

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

      To a fair amount of people, it *is*

      December 7, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Pedro Gonzalez

    Humans have been doing abnormal and strange things for all of history. This is no different.

    December 7, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

      It's "abnormal and strange" for anybody to play the piano as well as I do.
      That doesn't mean it's bad.
      It just means that I'm different from most folks.

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

      I bet you're a Christian. $100 bucks?

      December 7, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. KJK

    I don't understand why they haven't allowed people to marry multiple people as well. If a man and two women or two men and a woman want to be married together or even more, I don't see any reason why they shouldn't be! It's not fair. Hopefully this will be the stepping stone to allow things like that. When marriage will be free for all to engage in with as many people as they want. It is possible to love more than one person! Why should we be stuck with only one!?

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

      if they can figure out the legal implications of such an arragnement then go for it kjk, if you want to campaign for it, i wont stand in your way.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Straight Not Narrow

      I have no problem with it as long as all parties are consenting. The sticky wicket is in figuring out the legalities of it. Who gets what when one spouse dies, divorces, etc.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • KJK

      I'd say just split it all down the middle, it would be like it is now, except any bills or inheritance is split between the survivors.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Truthhurts

    The biggest threat and treasure for liberals is childrens rights.

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

      Yes, all those orphaned children who wouldn't care who raised them as long as they were caring people, gay or not. Stupid Liberals.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Seasley

    Delete religion from government and we will be okay. Hopefully this passes I would love to marry my girlfriend! -Military

    December 7, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. randy

    Let gay people marry. They should have the right to screw up their lives just like the rest of us! I was married to a person of a different race. In my lifetime, (1967) it was still illegal to marry a person of color. If I had met my spouse earlier, I would not have been allowed to marry her because it was a crime in some states. That was changed and the world did not come to an end. The more love we have on this planet, the better.

    December 7, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. tom

    Christians? Or anyone who believes in holy spirits, prophets, and angels? I vote for all of them. One day the evidence that religion is all made-up will become so powerful that believers will either accept their deities are invented nonsense or they will go completely apesht because reality is too much for them. What do you think Pedro?

    December 7, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Brad

    Correct. Some day we will be able to cure ignorance...but hang in there...we'll get to you as soon as possible

    December 7, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • dandahan4

      A mighty task undertaken by both contributors here.
      One aspires to be a philosopher another to teach on that subject.
      This subject of gay marriage is a minority issue and hardly the most important case to be presented to the Supreme Court.

      December 8, 2012 at 7:20 am | Report abuse |
    • dandahan4

      A minority issue and definitely not an important case for the Supreme Court.
      Gays and PR like Israeli and PR have the media captured and use "political correct" semantics to fine tune their latest line in BS.

      December 8, 2012 at 7:42 am | Report abuse |
  12. GS

    People who don't tolerate equality?

    December 7, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Level9

    Religion and gay marriage should be ban! Both were created from the mind of (MAN). and oh, for those that think God is not real ya'll be surprised in the near future... ;)

    December 7, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • MDAT

      God is not dictating peoples lives.If it slows progress it should be abandoned.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • JennG

      Do you honestly know how you find out if God is real or not??? A person has to die. If you are in communication with anyone in the beyond, can you have them upload some pics or something?? Maybe a tweet or a FB status? Thanks so much!!

      December 7, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cogito

      You mean "marriage" not "gay marriage"...

      December 8, 2012 at 5:46 am | Report abuse |
  14. medlab1701

    Sorry to disappoint you Pedro, but we don't need 'cured'. We need to keep doing what we're doing now – live openly and fight and win both at the ballot box and the courts. It's working, slowly yes, but its working, in case you haven't noticed.

    December 7, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Steve_Mo

    As I've stated on other websites, the issue people have with gay marriage is religious based. I think everyone in the US agrees that we should have freedom of religion. I'm sure the Christians wouldn't want Judism to become the law of the land and vice versa. The issue gay people have is a purely economic issue. I don't believe that a man and a woman should benefit from literally thousands of benefits because they're "married". Get rid of all those benefits. A wife should not be able to draw on her husband's Social Security. There should be no tax benefits to being married. Then the gays won't care. You're not only discriminating against gay people, you're discriminating against straight single people. If I decide to stay unmarried for my entire life, I should have the same tax effects as everyone else. Does everyone agree? If straights only care about the term marriage, they should have no issue with this. It kills 2 birds w/ one stone. It would raise tax revenue (which the country obviously needs), and it would the marriage debate.

    December 7, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Any sane person would agree sir.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • millyt

      Ummm, no. There are more rights than just financial benefits. Like being able to marry someone from another country and have them gain citizenship.

      Also, I want to marry whom I choose, however I choose, without people telling me I cannot. I don't care much about the financial benfits, I want the US to recognize that I love who I love and want to spend the rest of my life with them. Pure and simple.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
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