Supreme Court to rule Wednesday on marriage cases

In Athens, LGBT rights supporters will gather at 6 p.m. at Our Hope Metropolitan Community Church, 980 S. Lumpkin St., Athens, GA 30605.

The Savannah LGBT community will gather at 5 p.m. at Wright Square, in front of the Federal Courthouse.


The Supreme Court heard arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry, a challenge to Proposition 8, the ballot measure that ended same-sex marriage in California, on March 26, 2013.

Gay couples gained marriage rights in California in 2008 thanks to a ruling by the California Supreme Court. But in November 2008, the state’s voters approved Proposition 8, which amended the California Constitution to only recognize marriage between and a woman.

A district court judge ruled the measure violated federal guarantees of Due Process and Equal Protection.

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that ruling on the narrower grounds that California, having granted same-sex couples all of the legal rights of marriage, could not provide a legitimate reason for revoking an existing right.

The case was brought by two gay couples represented by the American Foundation for Equal Rights. Prop 8 was defended by supporters of the measure after the California governor and attorney general refused to argue in favor of it.

On March 27, 2013, the day after the Prop 8 case, the court heard Windsor v. United States, a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that denies federal marriage rights to same-sex couples.

Edith Windsor, now 83 years old, married her partner of more than four decades, Thea Spyer, in Canada in 2007. When Spyer died in 2009, Windsor was hit with an inheritance tax bill of more than $360,000, which she would not have owed if the government recognized her marriage.

Represented by the ACLU, Windsor won at the district court level; although she had already petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case, she also won in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. DOMA was defended by the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, a committee led by Republicans from the U.S. House of Representatives, after President Obama’s Justice Department refused to defend it.


Top photo: The Supreme Court of the United States of America (by Franz Jantzen via