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Supporters of California’s “Proposition 8,” a ballot measure adopted by voters four years ago to ban same-sex marriage in the state, urged the Supreme Court on Tuesday to uphold the ban and thus put it back into full effect. The petition and appendix (a file of nearly 500 pages) are HERE.
The document raised a single question: whether the Constitution’s guarantee in the Fourteenth Amendment of legal equality prohibited California from “defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.” A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court split 2-1 in early February in striking down the proposition, finding that it was motivated by hostility to gays and lesbians. The filing of the petition by “Proposition 8″ backers completed a round of new appeals to the Justices on same-sex marriage issues. The other new cases involve the constitutionality of the 1996 federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act, that permits federal benefits only for marriages of a man and a woman.
Presumably, the cases will be ready for the Court to consider later this summer or early in the new Term that starts October 1. While there is no guarantee that any of the cases will be granted, it seems highly likely that at least some of them will be. The Court has never decided, after full review, a case on gay marriage. It also has never specified the constitutional test to be applied to laws that are claimed to discriminate on the basis of sexual identity.