SCOTUS and Gay Marriage

Boston’s Government Center was exceptionally colorful and loud on Tuesday, March 26, 2013, when large groups of people from all over united in favor of same sex marriage. A rainbow flag was raised in Government Center as a sign of support for this cause. The rally was held in recognition of the Supreme Court hearing the oral arguments on a challenge to Prop 8. The next day, March 27, the justices heard arguments on a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a law passed in 1996 that prevents the federal government from offering benefits to same-sex couples, even if they are legally married in their home state. Proposition 8 was a California ballot proposition and a state constitutional amendment passed in the November 2008 state elections. The measure added a new provision, Section 7.5 of the Declaration of Rights, to the California Constitution. The proposition provides that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” The Supreme Court’s rulings on these two cases could make history..

Massachusetts is one of the nine states that allows same-sex marriage. Other states include Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and Washington State, plus the District of Columbia. Many ask why rallies are happening all over the country when the issue is taking place in California. Antoinette Weil, EDGE Boston news writer, states, “Here in Massachusetts, and in the other eight states that have legalized same-sex marriage, citizens have enjoyed the option to marry, but have not had recognition from the federal government nor from other non-marriage states that do not acknowledge same-sex marriage as legitimate.” One of three outcomes could result from the Supreme Court hearing. Everyone supporting the issue of equal rights to marriage is hoping for it to become a new national right, while those not in favor are hoping for proposition 8 and other bans will continue to stand. The last result of the trial could be a California-only ruling. Currently California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, and Rhode Island provide “same-sex spousal rights.” In these states, same-sex couple can get many of the same state-level benefits as married couples, but they do not have the same tittle. The court should reach a decision by late June 2013.

—Kara Alexandre

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