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Supreme Court To Consider Defense Of Marriage Act



Opinion polls now show a majority of Americans favor marriage equality, and support for it has been growing about 4 percent per year.

After two decades in which gay rights moved from the margin to capture the support of most Americans, the Supreme Court justices this week will decide if now is the time to rule on whether gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry, The Seattle Times report.

The justices must decide whether to hear an appeal from the defenders of California’s Proposition 8, the 2008 voter initiative that limited marriage to a man and a woman.

At the same session Friday, the court will sift through several appeals to decide whether legally married gay couples have a right to equal benefits under federal law. Appeals courts in Boston and New York have struck down this part of the Defense of Marriage Act, and the justices are almost certain to take up a case to resolve that question.

The Proposition 8 case, known as Hollingsworth vs. Perry, presents justices with the more profound “right to marry” question.

Opinion polls now show a majority of Americans favor marriage equality, and support for it has been growing about 4 percent per year. On Nov. 6, voters in three states — Maine, Maryland and Washington — approved same-sex marriage, bringing the total to nine states.

The purpose of the meeting is to decide which, if any, to put on the court’s schedule for arguments next year.

The outcome carries economic and social consequences for gay, lesbian and bisexual couples, who now are unable to access Social Security survivor benefits, file joint income taxes, inherit a deceased spouse’s pension or obtain family health insurance.

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