News / USA

US Supreme Court to Consider Same-Sex Marriage

US Supreme Court to Consider Same-Sex Marriagei
|| 0:00:00
X
Michael Bowman
December 10, 2012 8:11 PM
The ability of same-sex U.S. couples to legally marry and whether the federal government must recognize those unions could be decided now that the Supreme Court of the United States has agreed to hear two landmark cases on gay marriage. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, one case concerns the constitutionality of a voter referendum banning homosexual marriage in California; the other concerns the constitutionality of a federal law that excludes same-sex couples from receiving government benefits.

US Supreme Court to Consider Same-Sex Marriage

Michael Bowman
The ability of same-sex U.S. couples to legally marry and whether the federal government must recognize those unions could be decided now that the Supreme Court of the United States has agreed to hear two landmark cases on gay marriage. 

One case concerns the constitutionality of a voter referendum banning homosexual marriage in California; the other concerns the constitutionality of a federal law that excludes same-sex couples from receiving government benefits.

Same-sex couples are getting marriage licenses in Washington state, where voters approved gay marriage in November.

June, 1969: Gays in New York City riot to protest police raids of the Stonewall Inn, a bar in Greenwich Village. Event is considered the birth of the gay rights movement in America.

December, 1973: The American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses.

November, 1978: America’s first openly-gay elected official, San Francisco Board of Supervisors member Harvey Milk, is assassinated.

December, 1993: The Pentagon implements “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, a policy that allows gay military service as long as a member’s homosexuality remains secret.

September, 1996: President Bill Clinton signs the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars federal recognition of same-sex marriage and stipulates that no state must honor a same-sex marriage performed in another state.

June, 2003: The U.S. Supreme Court rules anti-sodomy laws are unconstitutional.

May, 2004: Massachusetts becomes the first state to legalize same-sex marriage.

November, 2008: California voters approve Proposition 8, which strips gay couples of marriage rights in the state.

December, 2010: President Barack Obama signs the repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell".

May, 2012: President Obama announces his personal support for same-sex marriage.

November, 2012: Maryland, Maine, and Washington become the first states to affirm same-sex marriage by popular vote. 

December, 2012: The U.S. Supreme Court announces it will hear appeals of lower court rulings striking down both the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8.

But their unions are not federally-recognized.  That could change, thanks to Edie Windsor, who contested federal taxes she was charged on property she inherited from her wife after 42 years together.

"I look forward to the day when the federal government will recognize the marriages of all Americans.  And I am hoping that will happen during my lifetime," she said.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case after lower courts declared the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.  Critics of the law include Democratic U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.

“Same-sex couples live their lives like all marriage couples.  They share financial expenses; they raise children together; they care for each other in good times and in bad," she said.

Congressionally-appointed attorneys will defend the law before the Supreme Court, and are endorsed by Republican Representative Steve King.

“All of human experience points to one committed relationship between a man and a woman as the core building block to society," he said.

The Justice Department stopped defending the law under President Barack Obama, who made headlines earlier this year.

“I think same-sex couples should be able to get married," he said.

The Supreme Court will also consider a California voter referendum that stripped same-sex couples of marriage rights in 2008.  Lower courts ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional.

The high court could hear oral arguments in both cases as early as March and rule on both cases in June.  Possible outcomes range from the high court affirming no constitutional right to same-sex marriage and upholding the Defense of Marriage Act to striking down the law and legalizing homosexual marriage nationwide.

Pro-gay rights Mayor Jeffrey Prang said, “There are lots of good things that could come out of this decision, and lots of really bad things could come out of this decision.”

Anti-gay rights activists predict Proposition 8 will be upheld. “The Constitution of the United States does not have marriage in it.  And the 10th Amendment [to the Constitution] says what is not in the federal powers belongs to the states," said Randy Thomasson of savecalifornia.com.

Public opinion surveys show that a slight majority of Americans favor same-sex marriage rights.  Changing views will not be lost on the Supreme Court, according to legal analyst Elizabeth Wydra.

“The justices are human beings, so they are not completely immune to public opinion," she said. "I think the real question for them is going to be, 'Do they want to be on the wrong side of history?'”

One of America’s most-contentious social issues will have its day in court, in the highest court in the land.

 

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: caver from: south
December 12, 2012 1:52 PM
As for the right to marry a person of the same sex, that is a state issue not a constitutional issue. The constitution does not give hetero-sexual couples the right to marry so why should it give the homo-sexual couple the right to marry. As for the federal government issue of recognizing same sex marriages that needs to be done through congress not the supreme court.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid