The Supreme Court is expected this week
to decide whether to hear an appeal to Proposition 8, California's
gay marriage ban.
The 2008 voter-approved constitutional
amendment put an end to the weddings of gay couples taking place in
the state after the California Supreme Court legalized such unions.
Defenders of the amendment have
appealed February's U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
ruling declaring that the marriage ban violated the Constitution's
guarantee of equal protection.
The high court is also expected to
consider whether to hear appeals to the Defense of Marriage Act
(DOMA), parts of which have been struck down by appeals courts in
Massachusetts and New York. DOMA denies legally married gay couples
access to federal recognition.
Several law professors told the Los
Angeles Times that the justices may hesitate to take the
Proposition 8 case, known as Hollingsworth vs. Perry.
“The tide is flowing only one way.
So a wait-and-see approach seems prudent at this stage,” UCLA's
Scott Cummings said.
But Suzanna Sherry, a professor at
Vanderbilt Law School, felt differently.
“Tennessee and the other deeply red
states are not going to [allow gay marriage] on their own, at least
for another 25 years. People here sincerely believe it will harm
their marriage and offend God if gays are allowed to marry. If there
is no rational basis for denying gays the right to marry, the court
should step in and protect gays from the tyranny of the majority.”
Should the court decide against hearing
the case, then the lower court's order would stand, and the weddings
of gay couples in California would resume. But it's unlikely the
ruling would affect other states, which has Ted Olson, who along with
David Boies argued the case, torn on whether the court should step
“We won the case, and if they don't
take it, our clients won. They will be allowed to marry,” Olson
told the paper. “But if they take the case, it could lead to a
broader victory. We believe gays and lesbians have a constitutional
right to be treated equally. And if it is a constitutional right,
you shouldn't have to try to win at the ballot box in every state.”
The Supreme Court is expected to
announce its decision by December 3.