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. Bets

    Good comeback, yokel. Is this how your grandfather reacted when interracial marriage was legalized?

    December 7, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. DJ

    A very small percentage of this countries population continues to try to push their unatural and unhealthy lifestyle ans social agenda on the vast majority that still believe and understand that marriage in reserved between a man and a woman.

    If it not been for the help of the gay suporting liberal dominated media this would be a nonissue.

    Hoepfuly, the Supreme Court will put an end to this nonsense of a so called "gay-lesbian marrage" issue and outlaw the farce marriages.

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

      And what are you going to do when it doesn't happen? The answer is that you'll do nothing but whine in your Cheerios.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Sir Dude

      tom: You forgot traffic jams. They're responsible for those too. Oh, and when you lose a sock in the laundry... also their fault.

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

      Yes the 53 percent of people who support gay marriage is a small minority.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. T Dawg

    Why doesn't the government give "marriage" another name like a unity? Then you're not married according to the government, you're united. That way people can call it whatever they want (marriage, social contract, etc) and we can all just move on. Does this work for everyone?

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

      As long as it's the same word applied to hetero couples as well...i.e. everyone gets the same word, sure, why not?

      December 7, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clayton Colwell

      Because "civil unions" *NEVER* provide the same benefits and responsibilities as civil marriage, that's why.

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

    Why do any logical people on here take religious peoples' comments seriously? Just have fun with them. You can't reason with the deluded or the low-IQ.

    December 7, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  5. OLDwhiteCHRISTIANteaPartier

    White Christian Americans need to stand up and take this country back from the sinful ways of the liberals and deviants. We need to stand up and take our country back!

    December 7, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • BillSD33

      Actually I am a white christian American and I think you and the people like you make this a worse place to live. It appears that statements like "do unto others", and "he without sin cast the first stone" are parts of the bible you skipped over for "thou shalt all believe what I believe" cause the preacher told me so.

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

      Don't throw your back out while standing up. Lift with your knees.

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

      The only problem is, you want to take us back to the era of McCarthyism, or the Middle Ages.
      Some people think you're the freak.
      As an alleged christian, I will (dangerously) as sume that you've heard the phrase "Judge not, lest you be judged yourself'?

      December 8, 2012 at 5:41 am | Report abuse |
  6. Danny

    For the ones who say God made Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve can you please tell me who made Steve then? I mean really your logic makes no sense is there another God that created gay people? I bet Steve's God was much more fabulous for sure. Get over yourself God loves everyone not just straight people.

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

    You can be Christian AND Gay... just fyi

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


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

      Interesting, please explain.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. lestersingleton

    Its funny how those who feel intolerance has been imposed upon them respond to others with the same intolerance in other areas of life.

    December 7, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Truth Hurts

      What do you expect? The applicable principle here is Karma, not Turn The Other Cheek. Because, frankly, Turn The Other Cheek doesn't work when the person slapping you prefers that you be dead, and is condemning you to an eternity of suffering. Fight back any way you can.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • lestersingleton

      I don't disagree. Its more of an ironic circumstance that should clue people in to the fact that hate breeds hate. This comment is directed at both sides of the coin in this situation as with many. People can say that homosexuality is biblically and morally wrong based on the doctrine of the bible but those who offer up such information fail to remember that the doctrine of the bible was never theirs to enforce in the first place and only those who believe in the bible will adhere to it. You can't make someone believe something they don't want to believe, you will only create anger. However, on the other end of the spectrum, those who believe in gay marriage can't expect those who believe in biblical doctrine to be accepting of their way. Those individuals believe it is wrong and no about of labels such as bigotry will ever change that. Viewpoints change over time and with experience, again speaking for both sides of the coin.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kay

    But, of course, incest was just fine and dandy. I mean, that *is* how you get from Adam and Eve to their children to...oh. Who else was there to procreate with but their parents, brothers and sisters. Hmmm. Sure sounds like incest to me.

    December 7, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. tom

    You know what's missing from that story? A little bestiality. Why didn't Adam and Eve get all nasty with that talking snake?

    December 7, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. OLDwhiteCHRISTIANteaPartier

    Christians are going to take this country back from the freaks.

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

      I'm sure that's what pro-slavery said to the progressive anti-slavery people back in the days. I'm sure that's what the bigots and pro-discriminators said to the progressive women during the Suffrage movement back in the days. I'm sure that's what the racists said to African American's during the Civil Rights movement back in the days. And just like all bigots who stand against human progress, you are clearly demonstrating your poisonous color. Fundamental rights and its progress can never be suppressed by religion.

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

      News Flash. You are in the minority now. Romney got 60% of the white vote and still loss. Think about it.

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

      So as a Christian, you must believe in Christ's teachings to love one another as ourselves. Right? How is it loving your neighbor to deny him/her a right given to others in a society?

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

      I don't care what your religion is, just keep it in your home, where it belongs.

      Why do "christians" always feel the need to rub your face in their religion?

      This is not a theocracy, your religion has ZERO place in the laws of this country.

      Rather than fighting marriage equality, why aren't you asking your churches why they waste so much money on this fight...money that could be going to feed, clothe and house the poor. Also ask them they they continue to allow children to get molested because they feel marriage equality is a bigger problem than child molestation. Do *YOU* want to look a kid in the face and say "sorry, we know you got molested, but we were too busy dealing with marriage to care about you?"

      Can you really be THAT person????

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

      Victoria, I know that you are just uninformed, however I find it funny that you made an analogy between the people who were pro slavery, and against the civil rights movement. Well my friend, democrats were pro slavery, and pro civil rights, republicans were anti slavery.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChristopherM

      Back to 1812? If you're so interested in living in a theocracy instead of a democracy, I think Iran is lovely this time of year.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Clicky

    This is an exciting development that will hopefully engage more people to participate in democracy. Congratulations to all the passionate people that have an opinion for or against this. It's certainly lively on the comment boards.

    It's exciting to see history unfold before your eyes.

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

      Except, this country is not a democracy. Your state (whichever it is) is not a democracy. Your county is not a democracy. Your city is not a democracy. Why do people keep bringing that up? We are a Republic and our elected officials pay themselves. Does anybody else see the flaw inherent in this?

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

      Participation in democracy isn't engaging our current government. It's taking to the streets and celebrating people. Like the Tea Party and Occupy.

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

      Well said!

      And @john: you're just a sore loser. Our democratic process worked this time (less idiots at the booths this year?).

      December 7, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael Pl

      Our democracy has failed largely due to incredibly uneducated people voting based on skin color and what the government will do for them, right now. People dont vote on the economic or moral future of our country, its all about whatcha gonna give me. The masses are just far too stupid at this point

      December 7, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. MrSkippy

    Which agenda? The one where they just want to be given the same rights and legal protections as everyone else?

    Or the one where they're trying to turn you gay?

    Cuz that last one doesn't really exist.

    December 7, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. atroy

    Really??? The Bible tells me to "be fruitful and multiply" and I'm a Gay Math Teacher so THERE!

    December 7, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dr Matrix

    Let gays marry. Why shouldn't they be miseable like us heteros?

    December 7, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
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