[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:
In '86, Justice Powell, swing vote, told his law clerk he had never met a gay person. Times have changed. #scotus #ssm— Jeffrey Toobin (@JeffreyToobin) December 07, 2012
In '86, Justice Powell, swing vote, told his law clerk he had never met a gay person. Times have changed. #scotus #ssm
Big news as #SCOTUS takes up Prop. 8 case & DOMA. Show where you stand. Be part of @HRC's #MajorityOpinion: bit.ly/QQfa9Y #LGBT— HumanRightsCampaign (@HRC) December 07, 2012
Big news as #SCOTUS takes up Prop. 8 case & DOMA. Show where you stand. Be part of @HRC's #MajorityOpinion: bit.ly/QQfa9Y #LGBT
We're going to the #SupremeCourt! #SCOTUS takes review of #DOMA and Prop 8! Read up on Edie's case against DOMA: bit.ly/Q99jeQ #LGBT— ACLU National (@ACLU) December 07, 2012
We're going to the #SupremeCourt! #SCOTUS takes review of #DOMA and Prop 8! Read up on Edie's case against DOMA: bit.ly/Q99jeQ #LGBT
Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson:
SCOTUS to rule on #DOMA and Prop 8. Here's hoping they confirm that #gaymarriage is a constitutional right. Long overdue! #equality— Gov. Gary Johnson (@GovGaryJohnson) December 07, 2012
SCOTUS to rule on #DOMA and Prop 8. Here's hoping they confirm that #gaymarriage is a constitutional right. Long overdue! #equality
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.:
V plsd #SCOTUS will review constitutionality of #DOMA & #Prop8! Congress must still act & pass Respect For Marriage Act repealdoma.com— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) December 07, 2012
V plsd #SCOTUS will review constitutionality of #DOMA & #Prop8! Congress must still act & pass Respect For Marriage Act repealdoma.com
California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom:
Supreme Court here we come. SCOTUS to hear #Prop8 case. Love will triumph over fear!— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) December 07, 2012
Supreme Court here we come. SCOTUS to hear #Prop8 case. Love will triumph over fear!
Justin Mikita, co-founder of TieTheKnot.org, which advocates "for the civil rights of gay and lesbian Americans":
Historic that SCOTUS will be hearing cases on Same Sex Marriage for the first time. This IS good news!— Justin Mikita (@JustinMikita) December 07, 2012
Historic that SCOTUS will be hearing cases on Same Sex Marriage for the first time. This IS good news!
Jessie Tyler Ferguson, another TieTheKnot.org co-founder and Mikita's finance:
Marriage Equality has finally made its way to the Supreme Court AND I'm on my way to @JimmyFallon to talk about @TieTheKnotOrg! What a day!— Jesse Tyler Ferguson (@jessetyler) December 07, 2012
Marriage Equality has finally made its way to the Supreme Court AND I'm on my way to @JimmyFallon to talk about @TieTheKnotOrg! What a day!
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi:
I'm confident Supreme Court will discard DOMA and Prop 8 into the dustbin of history. Let's get this over with and on to the future!— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) December 07, 2012
I'm confident Supreme Court will discard DOMA and Prop 8 into the dustbin of history. Let's get this over with and on to the future!
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Victory for lesbian, years after her longtime partner's death
I think if you are that worried that someone can turn you gay then you might already be gay. I'm just saying...
What are we going to tell your kids when they kiss in the park??? Are plumbing stands girl and boy.
Because you have to be married to kiss??
Tell them they love each other. Simple.
Don't we have better issues to worry about then if someone who loves someone else has the right to marry them. If it is a sin why do I care or why would you care... when we die God will not be judging us for it. What he will judge you for is if you "love thy neighbor".
WOW, these are people who love each other and want to spend their lives together. It's all about LOVE. and with a response like that, you really think you're making this country look any better? I hope Jesus prays for you
Well, you're old so you don't matter much. You had the 50s and 60s and 70s and 80s and 90s. You'd control us from the grave if you could.
It's a new century and new millennium and today is about ethics not morals. That's the only reason why the tide is changing to allowing gays to marry. Marriage is the only thing we use to discriminate gays. You can't discriminate for housing or employment or pay or other licenses like drivers licenses and business licenses. We're talking about state sanctioned licenses to allow one adult to marry another adult that's it. It's not so hard.
Pssst! Don't look now, but your kid is gay.
yes...yes...there can be NO GAY REPUB's
Let's see...you want me to be put in a place where I'll get three meals a day, not have to pay a mortgage or rent, and not have to hold down a job, all with a whole bunch of other men who have the same romantic preference as I do? Where do I sign up?
The US is not a theocracy. YOUR religion has zero place in the laws of this country. There are many religions practiced in this country. Where do you get off thinking yours is the one that should be listened to by everyone else?
I'm sorry, but any religion that wastes millions of dollars fighting marriage equality instead of feeding, clothing, and housing the poor, as well as solving their pedophilia problem is way too hypocritical a religion to be taken even remotely seriously.
It isn't this country that is going in the wrong direction, it is your religion and its leadership that are heading in the wrong direction.
Whoops! That troll was a little heavyhanded. But thanks for playing!
Intolerant gays? Really? I'm gay. I'm also Christian. I suppose I am intolerant– of intolerance. It's okay to believe what you want. The difference is that some (notice I said some) Christians believe they are better than gay people. They have the right to be happy and love or marry whomever they choose, but gay people should be forced to live out their lives alone. I've been "out" for almost eight years, and the only negative reactions I've gotten have been from other Christians. It's so ridiculous. You're basically saying "You're intolerant of me just because I think you're disgusting trash!"
Read your Bibles, Chistians, and take note of how Jesus behaved. Jesus didn't judge. Jesus talked to everybody and loved everybody like a friend. If there were gay bars in his time, Jesus would have walked in and started talking– not preaching. I don't really care if somebody disagrees with homosexuality. But I do care about having the same rights and freedoms as everybody else.
John I think it is also very prudent to note that God said it is not good for man to be alone. I shall make a suitable partner for him. That is also in Genesis... so forcing a person into a life of celibacy and being alone is, in fact, also against doctrine. Now.... this is going to spark a debate about "Yes! and that partner was WOMAN not MAN..." well that is what is suitable for Adam... not what is suitable for EVERYONE. A woman is not suitable for me.. They are very lovely, intelligent, I can appreciate that they are pretty, but they are not what I love therefore not suitable. It is natural.. as it exists in many many species in nature. Only humans discriminate against it. So that argument is trash too. Oh, and my apologies John! This was supposed to be additional support for your statement lol just so ya know :) I agree with ya!
There is no Iranian anti-gay law. They don't need one. Mahmoud said there aren't any in Iran, remember?
I serve in the USMC proudly and I am gay. I keep it to myself for the most part, despite DADT (which I wasn't really a big fan of in the first place). I've served in Afghanistan and would give anything to continue serving this country! So why the hell not should I not be able to marry my boyfriend, if our relationship evolves to that point? I've read a lot of bigotry in these comments, and I smile and say it's your right to be ignorant, but I don't think it is asking for much from this country, after all I have given, and hopefully continue to give to this nation to be able to one day marry someone I'm in love with. Semper FI!
Semper fidelis, and hurrah, young man. As you fight to protect us, I swear to fight for your right to love who you want to. The day of your liberty is at hand.
*stands up and applauds you, sir* And thank you.
Thank you for your service. Hopefully the Supreme Court will recognize gay marriage for what it is – an undeniable civil right. Equal rights for all!
Straight but not narrow here...Thank you for your service!
Hopefully you will soon be treated to some equality, as you should be.
The reason gay marriage is such an issue is because homosexuality is very offensive to a majority of people. Only about 1-2% of the world population practices it. Thus, many people react strongly to it.
Regarding the legality of gay marriage, it really isn't that big of an issue unless the government gets involved. If two people want to perform a ceremony, whether in public or private, they have a right to. It's irrelevant what they are doing as long as it doesn't take away from the freedom of other people. Sadly, the government is involved, which leads to a number of repurcussions.
The first is that by legalizing something, the government (a representation of the will of the people remember) is essentially saying that something is "ok" or "good". This of course, does not reflect the majority of Americans opinions and beliefs. Most people are of the position that homosexuality is wrong for them but ok for other people. This does NOT mean that they believe it is right, which is what legalization essentially means, the government telling us something is ok that is.
Thus, the federal government would be making a large mistake by legalizing gay marriage. If it is to be decided by the government, the states should decide. They are better representations of the diverse opinons and demographics of America.
Keep in mind the government has three choices when it comes to any issue. 1)They can declare something illegal. 2)They can take no stand on an issue. 3)They can declare something legal. Each has its own purpose: saying something is bad, out of legal realm, or good. Most Americans would prefer the government take no stand on this issue and let each citizen decide for his or herself.
This begs the question, however, that if government has no place in marriage definition, then why have they gotten involved in marriage to begin with? The answer not that the goverment wants to decide on religious matters, but administrative ones. Governments have long realized that one of the biggest factors of success in any country is the family unit. Strong families contribute values, productivity, creativity, etc. in future generations much better than single parents or other family situations. It's just the way people are. Thus, the government has long strengthened the family unit through tax breaks, healthcare, etc.
We should now ask, what will happen to the family unit if gay marriage is not only legalized but gay couples receive the same benefits as heterosexual couples, which, has been proven to be the strongest family type for the continuation of offspring. Well, research is one way to answer that question.
Gay marriage was legalized in the Netherlands long before this discussion hit America. A study was conducted in the 1990's to see the impact of gay marriage their society. For starters, only 10% of homosexuals actually got marriage. Furthermore, of those who did get married, gay males had a 1.5 times greater likelihood of divorce than straight couples and gay females had almost a 3 times greater likelihood.This proves that marriage legalization doesn't actually increase long term relationships.
Let's go back to future generations. Children are the most important factor in success for the future. They must be taught and nurtured to the best of our ability. That means providing stable, two person parental figures in a single home. Imagine if gay couples were suddenly allowed to adopt children. Considering the probability of divorce increases dramatically for gay couples, we could only conclude that even MORE children are going to be susceptible to split parents not to mention the increased factors of depression, anxiety, etc. of having same-sex parents.
You might consider benefits, tax breaks, etc. as a resource: there is only so much the government can contribute due to scarcity.Therefore, from an administrative perspective, it only makes sense the government supports heterosexual marriage relationships as the most effcetive and stable form of a family unit. One could conclude from this reasoning that the government should outlaw (refer to my choice 1 mentioned earlier) same-sex marriage.
With all of this information in mind, the legalization of gay marriage is not only unpopular, but bad for future generations. Therefore, the only reasonable decisions the government can make is the outlaw of same-sex marriage or staying out of marriage definition altogether.
You're joking right?! I hope this is a joke. It's either that or a louisy attempt to use flawed logic to promote veiled bigotry.
Gabe: I agree completely.
A very long, drawn-out post supporting discrimination and hatred.
What a load of bs.
"Gay marriage was legalized in the Netherlands long before this discussion hit America. A study was conducted in the 1990's to see the impact of gay marriage their society."
Gay marriage was legalized in the Netherlands in 2001. I'd really love to see the study done on it in the 1990's!
Your facts are as full of rubbish as your opinions.
I'd venture a guess that your doctorate is either strictly honorary, or from Liberty University....
You are not a doctor.
You are not even an intelligent human being.
Cite the study done in the '90s about gay marriage in the Netherlands. Show a link. If you can't, you're simply an ignorant lying bigot.
Good luck with that.
Too busy writing painfully long diatribes to check up on recent polling results instead of those from the 1950's? "Offensive to a majority of people?" "Unpopular?" Um, not so much anymore.....
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