Well, this week is the end of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2012-2013 term, and since it announces decisions typically on Mondays and Wednesdays and didn’t yesterday regarding one of the most controversial cases in its history, I guess we’ll all have to wait until later in the week to see what it decides about gay marriage.
Will the Court find the Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA unconstitutional, paving the way for legally married couples in states that recognize gay marriage to benefit from joint tax returns, spousal estate laws, Social Security and pension survivor benefits and the like? Would the same rights apply to domestic partnerships and civil unions or only marriage in its full legal sense?
Or will the Court mimic the Dreg Scott Decision of the late 1850’s that preserved slavery because it views the idea – then it was freedom for blacks, today, it’s marriage rights for us – as an idea too radical for its times? An idea, as Justice Elena Kagan said, that may need to “percolate” awhile before society is fully ready.
Will the Supreme Court judge California’s Prop 8 discriminatory? The Proposition, which asked that a court ruling making same-sex marriage legal in California be overturned, was passed by 52% of the electorate. So will the Court side with the civil rights of a minority or the rights of the majority as manifested in this vote?
Will the Supreme Court make what could be one of its most sweeping decisions since desegregation of public schools or abortion – make gay marriage legal in all 50 states – or leave it up to each state to decide as has been the case up to now? And could it rule that such a decision be made in each state only by the electorate, thus invalidating gay marriage in those states where it was blessed by the Legislature or the courts?
Yet, the Supreme Court did not leave it up to the states when, in 1967, it threw out miscegenation laws in force in mostly Southern states which made marriage between the races illegal. So will it now do the same for us?
Stay tuned …