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:

[tweet https://twitter.com/JeffreyToobin/status/277152673369821185%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/HRC/status/277149744814501888%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/ACLU/status/277148416499392512%5D

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson:

[tweet https://twitter.com/GovGaryJohnson/status/277149561624080384%5D

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.:

[tweet https://twitter.com/SenGillibrand/status/277156512634380288%5D

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom:

[tweet https://twitter.com/GavinNewsom/status/277144818147262464%5D

Justin Mikita, co-founder of TieTheKnot.org, which advocates "for the civil rights of gay and lesbian Americans":

[tweet https://twitter.com/JustinMikita/status/277150108347404288%5D

Jessie Tyler Ferguson, another TieTheKnot.org co-founder and Mikita's finance:

[tweet https://twitter.com/jessetyler/status/277162169475416064%5D

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi:

[tweet https://twitter.com/NancyPelosi/status/277164317714034688%5D

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. Hay Man

    As soon as I can afford a leather condom, I'm gonna marry that bale of hay over there.
    What? I'm an American citizen! Both Christ and US TROOPS have died so that we could be free to do whatever we want in a free country.
    God bless America, Semper-Fi, and find yourself a butt buddy. You are FREE to do so.

    December 9, 2012 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Todd in DC

      What part of "informed consent" is throwing you? How do you get a bale of hay to sign anything?

      You are not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, are you?

      December 10, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Matthew

      "What's next, people marrying ____" is straight out of the 1960s playbook, and looks no less antiquated or ignorant when you use it in earnest in 2012.

      December 10, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Priest. (retired)

    I'm happy to live in a country where I am FREE to hump boys even in my old age. All that God&Country require of me is 50 or so Hail Mary's, and I be forgiven and FREE to go at it again.
    I am a tad jealous of my non-denominational friends who are FREE *and* Saved. No matter how many boys they hump after being "saved", they get to goto Heaven! They don't even have to say Hail Mary! for what they done. Whatta cakewalk for them. Sheesh!

    December 9, 2012 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
    • kelleyboo

      No one is talking about under-age children here. It's two consenting adults.

      December 9, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Todd in DC

      and if you are so against pedophilia, you can help by telling the police which priests have been molesting children.

      Any priest knows who they are.

      December 10, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  3. Priest. (retired)

    There are over 500 comments posted here. If "on-topic" is your bag, your 'cup of tea', there are literally a hundred or more on-topic comments for you to reply to.
    So pick one of them, not me. ty

    December 9, 2012 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  4. Elmer Fudge

    *Wuv, wather. 🙂 LMAO
    Of COURSE I am Philip. Who else could possibly come-up with this sh/t? 🙂
    Good Morning @banasy. Long time no-see/talky to. How ya been?

    December 9, 2012 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  5. yogiman

    Which should be the Supreme Court's biggest concern: gays marrying gays or a usurper in our Oval Office? Gays have been living together for centuries as "man and wife", but Barry Soetoro aka Barack Obama is the first usurper in our Oval Office.

    We need to stop this venture for future usurpers before they become a "normal" president.

    December 9, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Your guy lost.
      It is apparent you feel much bitterness over it still to be calling the POTUS abnormal.
      The purpose of the SCOTUS is to decide if a law, any law, is unconsti tuional, and leave religious views out of secular law.
      Discrimination of any kind, whether or not you personally agree with it, is not to be tolerated.
      Bigotry is bigotry, no matter what spin one puts on it.

      Let's see if this even posts.

      December 9, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Todd in DC

      We have a black president. Deal with it better.

      December 10, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • LarryB

      What's with this "usurper" stuff? Did you stumble across that word recently and are still unclear as to its meaning?

      December 10, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    Reading these comments more carefully before dinner Sunday, I realised that some writers must think that the Supreme Court's consideration will concern the requirement that all USA citizens, including members of the clergy, who wish to marry someone must choose a spouse of the same gender.
    This is not the case.

    December 9, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Hi, JIF!

      I agree with your post; it amuses me that some people think that by giving gay people the right to legally wed, it somehow takes away hetero rights to wed...absurd.

      December 9, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. David Bozman - Toledo Ohio

    Democrat version - "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

    Republican version - We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men Unless your Gay, black, poor, Female, Funny looking, fat, skinny, bald, A Laborer, Etc Etc Etc are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    December 10, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Aja

      Yep. If you're a white male over 40 (as most republicans are) – this is a great country!

      December 11, 2012 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
  8. govar

    what hapen in sodom and gomorah is going to come

    December 10, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Aja

    I don't understand why conservatives are trying to ban two people who are in love from getting married. LOVE. UNITY. PARTERSHIP. Those are all good words. If they were fighting to be able to torture puppies or something, by all means – fight against it. But all gays want is the right SAME THINGS heteros have. Not more, not less, just the same. How is that bad again?

    December 11, 2012 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
  10. conrad shull

    Bottom line – the lady wants to use a loophole (marriage) to weasel out of paying her "fair share" of taxes. Democrats should be outraged.

    December 11, 2012 at 7:52 am | Report abuse |
  11. Carlos Viteaux

    But wanna input that you have a very decent website , I the style and design it actually stands out.

    June 12, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
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