State Attorney General Kamala Harris has hailed the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to examine California’s gay marriage law to see if the 14th Amendment bars the state from defining marriage in a traditional way.
Harris said: “Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to consider marriage equality takes our nation one step closer to realizing the American ideal of equal protection under the law for all people. For justice to prevail, Proposition 8 must be invalidated so that gay and lesbian families are finally treated with equality and dignity.”
The SCOTUS Blog posted this update Friday afternoon via CoveritLive:
“Prop. 8 is granted on the petition question -- whether 14th Am. bars Calif. from defining marriage in traditional way. Plus an added question: Whether the backers of Prop.. 8 have standing in the case under Art. III.”
In 2008, 52 percent of California voters approved Proposition 8. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the law in February, ruling Prop. 8 unconstitutional. Prop. 8 supporters then appealed to the country's highest court.
This chronology of the history of gay marriage on the LA Times explains the complex road that has led to today.
The SCOTUS Blog also clarified the immediate impact of the court's decision Friday—there is none.
“Although the Court is ruling on Prop. 8, there is nothing in the order that would lift the 9th CA's stay. So marriage licenses in Calif. will have to wait until this case is decided.”
Friday, the Supreme Court also granted a review of Windsor, a challenge to federal Defense of Marriage Act, according to Bloomberg.
DOMA bars the federal government from recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples.
“We are pleased that the court has agreed to decide once and for all whether these blatantly discriminatory marriage bans are permitted under our Constitution,” Ilona Turner, Legal Director of Transgender Law Center in San Francisco said in a prepared statement. “These laws that unconstitutionally restrict access to marriage based solely on gender must be struck down.”
The Rev. Rick Eisenlord, pastor at Good Shepherd Church and main organizer of the Pasadena Pride Center - which serves the San Gabriel Valley - said the center and its community are "thrilled" that the Supreme Court is not only going to examine Prop. 8, but also DOMA. He said any rulings on DOMA would have national impact, which is sorely needed.
"I can't stress enough how excited we are. It does not get bigger than this," he said. "It's been a battle. I talked to a couple of weeks ago, and they ask, 'Why can't we have the same rights, the same benefits as heterosexual couples?' It breaks my heart to see people who think they're second-class citizens. We want to encourage people to keep watch on this. It affects us all."
Eight other cases involving same-sex marriage were not added to the Supreme Court's “orders list,” essentially its docket for the next term. Most involved the Defense of Marriage Act.
It's expected the court will hear the marriage cases in the March sitting, March 18-27.
Staff writer Redmond Carolipio contributed to this report.