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. OLDwhiteCHRISTIANteaPartier

    The good people of this country are going to win in the end over the sick deviant freaks, when Jesus comes back.

    December 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • he better hurry

      only been waiting 2000 years..what is the hold up

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

      That's your belief. Not reality. Two different things. And we do not legislate on belief in this country. We're not a Theocracy. Sorry.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. cedar rapids

    not to mention kay that god did it all over again with noah and his family.
    he sure does love himself some incest does that god of theirs.

    December 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Lord Toronaga

    So...what if the SCOTUS says gay marriage is not legitimate?

    December 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. OLDwhiteCHRISTIANteaPartier

    Look out sinners, Jesus is coming.

    December 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Michael Platt

    I'm a bit confused to the person who said that 54 million fetus killed was not taking a life. If your wife was driving, and two months pregnant, and a drunk driver blew a stop sign, slammed into her and caused a miscarriage, would it be no harm no foul?? or would that drunk POS be the murderer of your unborn child?

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

      A fetus is NOT a life. That is why governments issue BIRTH certificates, not CONCEPTION certificates.

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

      so you are saying that its no harm no foul? what about at 9 months, I come running into the ER with you and your wife and punch her stomach, snapping its neck and killing it. While its still in the womb of course. Is this just simple assault on the mother in your book?

      December 7, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • urouttolunch

      Aren't you a little off-topic?

      December 8, 2012 at 3:10 am | Report abuse |
  6. Clayton Colwell

    Why is it always *hairy* men that some folks are so disgusted by? Would it make them feel better if both men were clean-shaven?

    December 7, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. minniememouse

    You do realize that a ruling either way doesn't have any bearing on the existence of gay people, correct? This is about whether or not the United States treats all citizens equally with respect to rights. I could give you the history of "marriage" and the chruch's stance (or not, for most of history) on what marriage is...but I have a feeling that facts would bore you.

    December 7, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Superior

    If the justices happen to read the hatred posted by the religious right on this site, they are sure to not only legalize same gender marriage, but also they would see a need for tax paying gay Americans to be protected from these frightening domestic terrorists.

    December 7, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mike from Seattle

    I'm all for granting gay marriage licenses if it helps reduce my car tabs.

    December 7, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. AJ

    Ignorant people – let people marry who they want to. Get over it!

    December 7, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. DC

    I predict John Roberts will be the swing vote that legalizes gay marriage. In his legal opinion, he will uphold the move as a tax.

    December 7, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. herebumps

    Two gay psychologists did a study of supposedly stable gay relationships. They found 0% were monogamous.

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

      In other words, they found that lifelong monogamy was not essential to stability?

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

      In other words, gays don't want marriage equality. They want another kind of marriage that doesn't have the bothersome quality of commitment.

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

      "Another kind of marriage" where the "commitment" equals a divorce rate of 60%? Oh wait, that's the kind of "committed" marriage straight people already have.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • BrienBear

      And your point is what?

      Fidelity has zero to do marriage. There are multiple straight couples that are not monogamous too. Like swingers.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dr. Bill Edison

      Gay men have a 1.5 increased chance of divorce. Gay women have a 3.0 increased chance of divorce.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      so they discovered that gays marry more than once during their lifetime?
      interesting.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • herebumps

      You don't improve the stability of the institution by inviting a population of people who have already abandoned the notion of commitment. Hopefully, the Supreme Court will understand that.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      When you say gay psychologists, do you mean psychologists who were gay, or psychologists who specialized in gay people?

      December 7, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • herebumps

      Yes, the divorce rate is a terrible problem. Changing marriage to include a population of people who have already abandoned the notion of commitment isn't going to help. Hopefully, the Supreme Court will understand that.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kay

      Nope. That's not true. It was a 2010 English study of committed gay couples...NOT legally married gay couples. Whoops! (And we all know that straight folks never "cheat" before they get married...or even afterwards :-)

      December 7, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • herebumps

      The psychologists were David McWhirter and Andrew Mattison, who were, themselves, a couple. Their study was called "The Male Couple: How Relationships Develop," in 1984. They studied 156 couples, and found that all the couples who had been together 5 years or more had worked out arrangements to allow sex with others.

      December 7, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mike

    WOW! a lot of hate towards gays....so when did you realize you were gay?

    December 7, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Truth Hurts

    That was tried. In 2003, the Supremes finally said that this was illegal. They're not going to reverse it.

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

    jailing someone for being gay is not bringing back morals, its removing them.

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