News and Tribune

Community News Network

December 7, 2012

Gay marriage to get review from high court for 1st time

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court will take up the issue of gay marriage for the first time, agreeing to rule on a California ballot measure banning the practice and a federal law defining marriage as solely an opposite-sex union.

The cases, which the court will decide by June, loom as a potential turning point on one of the country's most divisive issues. High court review comes as the gay-marriage movement is showing unprecedented momentum, winning victories at the polls in four states this year.

The California dispute will address whether gay marriage is legal in the most populous U.S. state, home to more than 37 million people. The case also gives the justices a chance to go much further and tackle the biggest issue: whether the Constitution guarantees same-sex marriage rights nationwide.

That question is "perhaps the most important remaining civil rights issue of our time," said Theodore Olson, a Washington lawyer leading the legal fight against the California measure.

In addition to the California case, the justices Friday said they will review the U.S. Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law that two federal appeals courts said impermissibly treats legally married gay couples differently than heterosexual couples. DOMA, as the measure is known, blocks gays from claiming the same federal tax breaks and other marriage benefits that opposite-sex spouses enjoy.

The case "is of exceptional practical importance to the United States and to tens of thousands of individuals affected," the Obama administration said in court papers opposing the law while urging the court to review it.

Support for gay nuptials has soared since 1996, when DOMA was approved 342-67 in the House and 85-14 in the Senate before being signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

Voters on Nov. 6 approved gay marriage in Washington, Maryland and Maine and rejected a bid in Minnesota to amend the state constitution to bar the practice.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
LOCAL MAGAZINES
Easter 2014 photos


Click on any photo to purchase it.

SPECIAL CONTENT
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 U.N. School in Gaza Hit by Israeli Strike Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Officials Warn of Avoidable Death in Hot Cars Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' House Committee at Odds Over Obama Lawsuit Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record
2013 Photos of the year


Take a look at our most memorable photos from 2013.