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. Primewonk

    True. But the only way to cure this bigotry is with death for the bigots.

    December 7, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jeff

    CNN stop saying attack on DOMA.It is a challenge to the law

    December 7, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Same Love

    I would love to hear from a straight couple that has been denied the right to see their spouse in a hospital. Or one that had to explain to their partners kids why their mother was alone in an ER while we sat in a waiting room not being allowed to see her. Or one that carries around medical directives knowing that they need it to speak for their loved one if they cant speak. My partner and I raise two wonderful kids together, we make our mortgage payment on time, we pay taxes, and we love no differently than anyone else, but I sat away from my partner in that ER as she suffered alone. I believe god loves all his children and we are included in that. We don't want special rights we want equal rights.

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

      EXACTLY!!!!!!

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

      That is very nicely written and well spoken!! I could not agree with you more! I hope the day when we can have equal rights is closer then we think!!

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

    Sure, strike down DOMA, and we'll have a 10 percent increase in weddings, and the 1,100 benefits that go with that. Better come up with a plan to pay for this.

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

      So that's your reason to continue blatant discrimination???

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

      so, just checking here... People should be denied equal rights because its expensive.

      We could save a lot of money if we would just revoke the rights of all the other minorities, as well, you know. African American's weren't allow to marry one another until 1896. They weren't allowed to marry white people until 1967. Your argument is crap.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. The Cure

    I would love for everyone who believes in a magical bearded man in the sky to be cured of their delusions.

    December 7, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jake

    I don't think people understand what the word "bigot" means.

    December 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Sir Dude

      bigot is comprised of two pars. big, and ot. big is of course a word that I hope we all know the meaning of. ot isn't so much a word, however it does stand for several things. So I will say it stands for big overtime

      December 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. br

    If the Supremos do legalize this sewer law, we the public should have the right to forcably remove the members of the SC who approved it

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

      Really? What about the majority of us who disagree with you? I assume *we* have the right to remove you from civilized society.

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

      You are so far behind the times you think you are in first place. Wake up to 2012 and get over yourself. Nobody cares about your bigoted, close minded opinions reflecting an archaic, religious form that is out of touch with reality.

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

      You DO realized that every session of the Supreme Court is opened with prayer, right?

      December 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • pippyswords

      "If the Supremos do legalize this sewer law, we the public should have the right to forcably remove the members of the SC who approved it"

      The funny thing about your statement there br is that these are laws that are already on the books. One banning their marriage and the other one defining what marriage is on a federal law. Love that you are supporting equal rights by saying if they remain legal we should remove members of the Supreme Court.

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

      You going to go to the Supreme court with pitchforks and billy clubs to remove them?

      December 7, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • SJinTN

      Joe's comment: "I agree. We're not gonna allow that mess here in Alabama no matter what some city lawyer says. This is out state and we have morals."

      And forcing your "morals" onto other people is about as moral as a rapist forcing his lusts onto a victim.
      Think about it.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Collin

      it's pretty simple, gay people pay the same in taxes as straight people so for that reason (and millions of others) gay people should have a right to marry

      December 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • WalksLikeADuck

      No need to bag on an entire state to prove a point there Missy.

      You are doing what Joe did.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Micky602

      yah, good luck with that

      December 7, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • colleen

      Amen to that Joe!!!!! It is abnormal and we weren't created for that abomination

      December 7, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave

      Sounds like the repubs are right on that call.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robyn

      I'm sorry. It must be terrible living in an outhouse state where you have mongrels.
      (or perhaps I misread your post)

      December 7, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Floyd

      Alabama has morals? Oh please. In 2004 Alabama voters voted to keep the separate but equal school laws and the poll tax laws. And they remain on your law books to this day. Alabama has no place to talk about morals to ANYOJNE.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • AMI

      It's funny that you typed "out state". A Freudian slip perhaps?

      December 7, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Paul X

    How *dare* you assume gay people have to be cured.

    December 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  9. austinsandi

    Natural "law" ??? "gay pal agreements"????? your comments are extremely insulting. Who are you to define what any individual might call marriage? I regard your type as extremely lacking in intelligence.

    December 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sailor101

      He and every other person in this country has the right. They also have the right to hold others accountable for their actions.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jonathan

    I'm ready to fight for Equality! Going to HRC.org and let's get our marching orders.......

    December 7, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Kurt

    It's funny all the hatred. Why can't people for and against gay marriage ever talk civilly about/to the other side?

    Actually, now that I think about it, it's usually gay marriage activists bashing religion that sound the most intolerant. At least based on CNN's comment board!

    Still, good luck gay marriage activists. And good luck anti-gay marriage activists. I'm sure you're all doing what you think is right, and should both be commended.

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

      Really, gay rights activists bashing religion? Define religion for me, sir. No, it's bashing so-called religious activists who don't know anything about morals or common courtesy. Yes, both sides are going to have the crazies who go way over-board with their rhetoric, but don't confuse who they are bashing.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sailor101

      I agree! Each individual should stand up for what they believe in, no matter what side of the issue. I think it is awful that people start the mud slinging and name calling just because others have opinions that differ from their own. Each person has the right to express their opinion no matter what side of the issue they believe but they should also respect the opinion of those who differ from them.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Flappy

      My religion says I can bash you over the head with a club and take all your stuff. Anyone who says any different is oppressing my religion.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kurt

      millyt: good point, there are crazies on both sides. But I guess I just see and hear a lot more anger from the gay marriage activists than I do from the anti gay marriage activists. That's all. But maybe that's just because of where I'm at, I don't know.

      I just wish a few less crazies were speaking out, and a lot more good arguments. Both sides have valid arguments I am sure, but I never hear them. I only hear crazies.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      'Actually, now that I think about it, it's usually gay marriage activists bashing religion that sound the most intolerant. At least based on CNN's comment board!'

      yeah because its the gay marriage supporters calling the other side perverted, twisted, sick, against the laws of nature, mentally ill, etc.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kurt

      Flappy: case in point. You sound so mad. Breathe a little. Remember the old, "if you haven't got something nice to say, don't say anything at all"?

      December 7, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kurt

      cedar rapids: I don't support gay marriage, but I would never call gay people any of what you said. And while I do see some people post that, I generally see a lot more comments like that directed at the anti gay marriage community. Religious people get bashed. Republicans get bashed. Gay people? Not very often, from what I read. And I read a lot.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      Then i am sorry to say kurt that you need to read some more. every article about gay marriage brings out the religious lot who spout exactly what i posted. Gay marriage supporters respond to those postings.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kurt

      cedar rapids: I didn't say there aren't rude people on either side. I just said that I read more on one side. And it hurts their cause. I think the worst thing someone can do while defending what they believe in is to use bad arguments - insulting other people is a bad argument. It hurts whatever cause is being "defended." Hopefully we can at least agree on that. Because based on your line of argument, it could be the religious nuts who are responding to the pro gay marriage people's insults. Right?

      December 7, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      Depends who started the thread kurt, who started the top posting. In this case it was you so I was responding to you. I think you will find a lot of these threads that you want to say have more pro-religious bashing, are also responding to a top posting that was religious or anti-gay.

      For example: it was Dave who started the one that said
      'It was soooo much nicer when they were in the closet! I think we should adopt Iranian law. I would say drag them behind your truck, but what a mess it makes on the road'

      Now if a pro-gay marriage supporter responded badly to that, would you say they were wrong to do so?

      December 7, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sailor101

      I think both sides quickly break down to the insults. No matter what one side does is going to convince the other side that they are wrong. I do not condone/support or whatever you want to call it but it is not based on religion. I think the religious nut jobs spouting chapter and verse do nothing to help their cause nor do I think the people in favor of gay marriage calling people bigots at the drop of the hat supports their cause.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kurt

      cedar rapids: Yes, I would - we can't always respond to the crazy people with more crazy comments. They're looking for attention. Like children. But this is a very adult issue. Very important - it deserves our seriousness. Not back and forth insults.

      Honestly, with comments like the one you cited, I tend to believe they are the trolls who don't even care about the issue but like to make a fuss. Indulging them by reacting is wrong. It makes them feel powerful - like they are Pavlov and the responder is Pavlov's dog, drooling whenever they ring the bell.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kurt

      Sailor 101: Exactly! I agree with you 100%.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Me

    That's so gross...

    December 7, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. dqmariette

    “God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness..’ – God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.’ It meant, the purpose of God created two genders, male and female is for fulfill His ongoing creation of human bodies on earth.

    If the U.S. Supreme Court ruling made same genders legally marriage, these justices put themselves above the Almighty Eternal Creator. If came to this outages of man robbed God’s authority, American people are looking for a lot of major punishments from the Almighty Eternal Creator! I am not kidding about what I wrote here.

    December 7, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pat Robertson Jr.

      Dad, DAD is that you

      December 7, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • MrSkippy

      See, the justices are dealing with United States law. You are talking about a theory. A God you can't prove actually exists. And you are quite honestly saying "My religious beliefs trump everyone else's civil rights."

      Some guy, a few thousand years ago, said "God said this" as a means to justify his actions. Somehow that made it into a book and you want to use that as a basis to deny legal protection to a whole class of citizens. For the record: some other guy said women should be silent. And that black people were property. Another some guy said it was OK to buy slaves as long as they come from the neighboring states. It's not OK to buy your neighbor, but your neighbor's neighbor is fine.

      And you want us to outlaw this just cuz "some guy" said so?

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

      I believe the language you just cited simply says that men and women were created so that there could be procreation. It doesn't say anything about two people of the same gender getting married.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • gerdbaby

      This is a LEGAL civil matter. If whackadoodles don't want gay marriage, then don't have one.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      This is a secular country. God matters in your home. Your God doesn't matter in mine. That is the first amendment. Marriage under the law is not a religious right, it is a civil one. They should have the right. The decision is so simple, I'm surprised at the debate

      December 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Sir Dude

      If you believe that god created all, then god created gay people. If you believe that god made us in his image, then that has to mean that god has the potential to be gay. If you believe that god exists, you're a child.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Religion shouldn't even enter into a equal rights matter.
      Period.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave

      I agree.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I don't see anything about marriage in that statement there. Besides, nobody is saying that churches have to perform these marriages anyway. That's what everyone on your side seems to be missing.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • colleen

      Great Point!!!!! But you see dqmariette...their eyes are blinded...Pray for God's will. Roman 1 is a good chapter to read. It all comes down to God loves the sinner but hates the sin. And that goes with every sin. Thanks for posting

      December 7, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sloppyjoe

      Once you grasp the bravery and reason to realize that the Bible (and other 'religious' writings) is nothing more than man made literature, is not scripture, and should not have dominion over your actions or ethics, you will gain freedom and enlightenment. Have the courage to be critical of the Bible, it's origins and teachings, and make your ethical and morale judgements yourself. The 'good book' is a lot less good than you likely believe.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clayton Colwell

      If you interpret Romans 1 as applying to all gay people, then the following is nothing more than pure libel:
      "29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy."

      Not what I would consider fair from an alleged "good book".

      December 7, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Anonymous Botched

    The Bible also clearly approves of polygamy and animal sacrifices. Which bit of the Bible was it that you're using to prove your point, again?

    December 7, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. MrSkippy

    Call your make believe friends whatever you want. I don't see how that has anything to do with U.S. law.

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