This week the Supreme Court justices will go behind closed doors to decide whether now is the time to rule on whether gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry.
The justices must decide whether to hear an appeal from the defenders of California’s Proposition 8 case otherwise known Hollingsworth vs. Perry, and the 2008 voter initiative that limited marriage to a man and a woman.
At the same session this coming Friday, the court will sift through several appeals to decide whether legally married gay couples have a right to equal benefits under federal law. Appeals courts in Boston and New York have struck down the part of the Defense of Marriage Act that denies such a right, and the justices are almost certain to take up a case to resolve that question.
The Proposition 8 case though, presents justices with the more profound “right to marry” question.
Usually, the justices are inclined to vote to hear a case if they disagree with the lower court ruling. The most conservative justices — Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.— almost certainly do and if Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joins the other three, the conservatives would have the needed four votes to hear the Proposition 8 case.
If the court votes to hear the California case, it will be decided by late June. If the appeal is turned down, it means gay marriage will become law in California once and for all because of the earlier 9th Circuit’s decision and will go not further.
Ted Olson, the conservative Washington lawyer who joined David Boies to lead the legal attack on Proposition 8, acknowledges he is torn over whether the Supreme Court should hear the case.
“We won the case, and if they don’t take it, our clients have won. They will be allowed to marry,” Olson said. “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.”
My Magic 8 Ball Prediction:
Where I’d personally LOVE for them to take the case and find finally put the “right to marry” question to rest by finding that its a constitutional right for gay men and women to be able to marry. I predict that the Supreme Court will PASS on hearing the Prop 8 case, especially if it chooses to pick up and hear one of the other cases that has to do with the constitutionality of DOMA.
I also predict that there are going to be many same sex marriage ceremonies will be happening in California on New Years Eve.