Recently, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments on two consecutive days in two cases which have generated national headlines and filled the broadcast airways with the topic of marriage equality. The Court’s decision in these two cases, Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor, will be delivered by the end of the 2012-2013 Term in mid-June and may likely have a profound effect upon the view of marriage in this country.
On March 26, 2013, the United States Supreme Court conducted oral arguments in Hollingsworth, which presents the issue of whether California’s Proposition 8, which amended the California Constitution to prohibit same-sex couples from marrying, violates the United States Constitution. The fact that more than 100 amicus curiae briefs have been filed with the case shows the high level of interest it has garnered.
In May 2008, after the California Supreme Court held that state statutes limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples violated the California Constitution, same-sex couples were permitted to marry in that state. Later that year, through a ballot proposition known as “Proposition 8,” the California voters passed a constitutional amendment stating that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” Since then, same-sex couples have been unable to marry in California.
In August 2010, a federal district court held that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional as it violated the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. That decision was upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The High Court thereafter granted certiorari to decide this issue.