As expected, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it will hear a pair of cases that will impact the future of marriage in America. After a week of deliberation the High Court said Friday it would consider a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which for federal purposes defines marriage as only between a man and a woman. It will also hear an appeal to a lower court ruling that overturned California's Proposition 8, the state constitutional marriage protection amendment passed by voters in 2008.
In the Proposition 8 case, U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker ruled in 2010 that the state amendment, passed by voters on a ballot initiative, violated the U.S. Constitution's due process and equal protection clauses, and placed a stay on its implementation. The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal upheld Walker's suspension of the amendment, and after hearing the case in full earlier this year, threw out the amendment completely, setting up the appeal to the Supreme Court.
After his retirement in 2010, Walker confessed that he had been in a homosexual relationship for years, a revelation that called into question the impartiality of his ruling on Proposition 8.
As for DOMA, signed into law in 1996 by President Bill Clinton, a number of lawsuits have been filed by same-sex couples challenging its constitutionality, and in February 2011 President Obama ordered the Justice Department to stop taking up the law's defense in court. “Much of the legal landscape has changed in the 15 years since Congress passed DOMA,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in announcing that the DOJ would not defend the duly passed federal statute. “The Supreme Court has ruled that laws criminalizing homosexual conduct are unconstitutional. Congress has repealed the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Several lower courts have ruled DOMA itself to be unconstitutional.”
The nation's homosexual lobby has long been a staunch Obama ally, and the president strongly courted the “gay” voting bloc during his first administration, working to overturn the “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy barring homosexuals from openly serving in the military, and promising to hand them legalized same-sex marriage in his second term.
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