Proposition 8 Same-Sex Marriage Decision Coming Wednesday

After years of legal battles, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to issue its opinion in a case regarding California's ban on same-sex marriage ban

Decision day for the U.S. Supreme Court regarding California's Proposition 8, the 2008 California initiative that banned same-sex marriage in the state, is scheduled for Wednesday.

The justices indicated early Tuesday that the last day of the term will be Wednesday, and all remaining decisions will be announced then. The SCOTUS blog tweeted Tuesday morning, "Tomorrow is the last #scotus day.  Same-sex marriage. History."

Full Coverage: Prop. 8 Oral Arguments | Timeline of Key Events  | Supreme Court Blog

The justices are also expected to issue their decision on the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, on Wednesday. DOMA bars gay and lesbian married couples from receiving the same federal benefits as opposite-sex spouses.

Prop 8 and DOMA are two of the three cases that still need to be decided. The rulings are expected to be released starting at 7 a.m. PT.

Some Possible Rulings:

  • If the Justices Affirm the 9th Circuit Ruling: The 9th Circuit ruling invalidated Prop 8's constitutionality, meaning an affirmation of that ruling would effectively legalize same-sex marriage in California.
  • If the Justices Dismiss the Case: If the court rules that the petition for review should not have been granted, the Ninth Circuit Court's decision that the ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional would likely remain in effect.
  • If the Justices Rule There Is a Lack of Standing: The court could decide Prop 8 backers lacked standing under federal law to appeal the case, effectively leaving an earlier ruling that Prop 8 is unconstitutional in place. The decision vacates the Ninth Circuit Court's ruling and upholds Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling that Prop 8 is unconstitutional.
  • If the Justices Rules Prop 8 is Valid: The ruling likely means same-sex marriage is illegal in California.
  • There also is a small possibility that the Court would carry the case to its next term. Experts say this only happens if there are major outstanding issue regarding the case, and none are known in Prop 8.

And it should be noted that whatever the Supreme Court decides, same-sex marriages are unlikely to  resume immediately in California. Legal details will determine the timeline.

Whatever the ruling, details of it impact on same-sex marriage in the state might become more clear after a news conference with California Attorney General Kamala Harris. Harris has scheduled the news conference for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

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