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. Flappy

    I think if you are that worried that someone can turn you gay then you might already be gay. I'm just saying...

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

    What are we going to tell your kids when they kiss in the park??? Are plumbing stands girl and boy.

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

      Because you have to be married to kiss??

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

      Tell them they love each other. Simple.

      December 8, 2012 at 5:29 am | Report abuse |
    • rick

      "Are plumbing"?

      December 8, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  3. insight iowa

    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".

    December 7, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mike

    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

    December 7, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. kevin

    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.

    December 7, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Clayton Colwell

    Pssst! Don't look now, but your kid is gay.

    December 7, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. GAY GOD

    yes...yes...there can be NO GAY REPUB's

    December 7, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Truth Hurts

    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?

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


    December 7, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jackson

    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.

    December 7, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Clayton Colwell

    Whoops! That troll was a little heavyhanded. But thanks for playing!

    December 7, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. John

    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.

    December 7, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harry

      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!

      December 8, 2012 at 3:40 am | Report abuse |
  13. Truth Hurts

    There is no Iranian anti-gay law. They don't need one. Mahmoud said there aren't any in Iran, remember?

    December 7, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. GayMarine

    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!

    December 7, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve in MA

      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.

      December 7, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul X

      *stands up and applauds you, sir* And thank you.

      December 7, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Meowser

      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!

      December 7, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cogito

      Straight but not narrow here...Thank you for your service!
      Hopefully you will soon be treated to some equality, as you should be.

      December 8, 2012 at 5:32 am | Report abuse |
  15. Dr. Bill Edison

    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.

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

      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.

      December 7, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Gabe: I agree completely.
      A very long, drawn-out post supporting discrimination and hatred.
      What a load of bs.

      December 7, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jord

      "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.

      December 7, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • urouttolunch


      December 8, 2012 at 2:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Cogito

      I'd venture a guess that your doctorate is either strictly honorary, or from Liberty University....

      December 8, 2012 at 5:24 am | Report abuse |
    • RK PHX

      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.

      December 9, 2012 at 2:34 am | Report abuse |
    • LarryB

      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.....

      December 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12