A prominent lawyer who argued against
the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) at the Supreme Court has predicted
nationwide marriage equality as early as next year.
Paul Smith was part of the legal team
that last year successfully challenged a key provision of DOMA in a
case that reached the Supreme Court. DOMA's demise led to the
federal government's recognition of gay couples' marriages. The
court's landmark decision has served as the basis for many of the
dozens of state challenges that followed.
Challenges to bans in Virginia,
Oklahoma and Utah are farthest along in the appeals process. Smith
said one of those cases could reach the Supreme Court by next summer.
“I think that most observers think
there are five votes [on the Supreme Court] for the pro-equality side
– the same five that felt the Defense of Marriage Act was
The high court could also decline to
hear any of the cases. Unanimous rulings against the restrictive
marriage bans would also lead to nationwide marriage equality.
However, Smith said his “personal view is that the Supreme Court
wants to be the one to decide this issue, not the lower courts.”
“So the Supreme Court will probably
take it,” Smith added.