All nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court announced on Friday that they will hear two cases dealing with same-sex “marriage” in 2013, examining whether the U.S. Congress or the voters in any state have the right to preserve the traditional definition of marriage.
Both the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8 will be on the docket next year. The plaintiffs claim the U.S. Constitution blocks both laws.
The justices agreed to hear Windsor v. United States, which challenges DOMA’s right to define marriage for the purposes of the federal government, since some states like New York have redefined marriage.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said the 1996 law, signed by President Clinton, was “consistent with our principles of federalism,” allowing states to define marriage their own way, while DOMA sets the standard for the federal government.
Harry Mihet, senior counsel for Liberty Counsel, told LifeSiteNews.com this argument contends that “somehow the federal government does not have that same freedom to decide for itself …what marriage means.”
“Should the Supreme Court decide to overturn the marriage laws of 41 states, the ruling would become even more divisive than the Court’s infamous Roe v. Wade decision,” Perkins warned. “Marriage, unlike abortion laws in the 1970s, has been incorporated into the state constitutions of 30 states. Voters in these states will not accept an activist court redefining our most fundamental social institution.”
The High Court will also hear Hollingsworth v. Perry, to determine whether the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution forbids the people of California from amending the state constitution to protect marriage. The state’s voters passed Proposition 8 in November 2008 by a 52-48 margin.
The amendment’s defenders were confident they will prevail.
“We believe that it is significant that the Supreme Court has taken the Prop 8 case,” said John Eastman, chairman of the National Organization for Marriage. “We believe it is a strong signal that the Court will reverse the lower courts and uphold Proposition 8. That is the right outcome based on the law and based on the principle that voters hold the ultimate power over basic policy judgments and their decisions are entitled to respect.”
“It’s a strong signal that the justices are concerned with the rogue rulings that have come out of San Francisco at both the trial court and appellate levels,” he said.
He added that the author of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision striking down Proposition 8, Stephen Reinhardt, is “the most overruled judge in America.”
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals put a stay in place on issuing same-sex “marriage” licenses. The High Court did not reverse that order, so the plaintiffs would have to prevail before such ceremonies could gain legal standing.
Authors on the SCOTUS blog say they believe the justices will hear the cases March 18-27.
It is not known how many justices will issue the decision. Some argue Elena Kagan should recuse herself from the DOMA case. In 2009 as Solicitor General, she participated in the Obama administration’s response to a DOMA lawsuit in the Gill case. Although that petition was not granted, Republican senators at her confirmation hearings believed she had been too involved in the administration’s legal procedure to issue an opinion without the appearance of a conflict of interest.
In both cases, the justices may deny that the plaintiffs have the legal standing to file a lawsuit, dismissing the challenges without deciding the merits of either law.
Homosexual activists also greeted the news with optimism.
“These big steps in the Supreme Court cap a transformative year in which we paved the pathway for President Obama’s support, led the campaign to secure a freedom to marry plank in the Democratic Party platform, and won the freedom to marry at the ballot in Maine, Maryland and Washington while defeating an anti-marriage amendment in Minnesota,” Evan Wolfson, an activist who favors marriage redefinition, wrote. “We now must turn this irrefutable momentum into more wins.”