When The Supreme Court Hears Gay Marriage Case


I have felt for the last year that a case fitting the criteria for the Supreme Court to hear regarding gay marriage would be dealt with before the 2016 presidential election.  That sense of timing is one that many are talking about–and with great hope.

Today, just a year after the Windsor decision striking down the core of the Defense of Marriage Act and the Perry decision that kept California’s Proposition 8 off the books, all major LGBT advocates support going to the Supreme Court. They plan to use the same kind of coordinated legal and public relations strategy that’s led them to 16 out of 16 victories in lower courts, including Tuesday’s in Kentucky, where a district judge appointed by President George H.W. Bush struck down the state’s gay marriage ban.

Meanwhile, advocates are counting on that certainty to take the form of a legalization ruling from the same five justices who struck down DOMA — and maybe even a legacy-minded Chief Justice John Roberts joining, too.

They say they might get there via the Utah attorney general’s petition. Or via circuit court decisions in Oklahoma and Nevada. Or by way of the case that went through a full trial in Michigan, or others in Texas, Ohio, Wisconsin, Tennessee or beyond.

Marriage legalization advocates also feel that the lack of chaos or disruption in the 19 states (plus Washington, D.C.) that have legalized gay marriage — in a statistic advocates like to cite, that accounts for 44 percent of the total American population — will ease the minds of justices who might worry that the country’s not ready for gay marriage, as even Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has hinted at in the past. The polls that show popular opinion sprinting to legalization should help, too, they say.

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