History Cometh: Supreme Court to Rule on Gay Marriage
A primer in advance of today's decisions
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 26, 2013 7:20 AM CDT
Updated Jun 26, 2013 7:39 AM CDT
Vin Testa from Washington, waves the rainbow flag in support of gay marriage in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday, June 24, 2013.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(Newser) – It's a day for the history books: Two landmark Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage are coming today, something we know with certainty because it's the last day of the term. The justices will convene at 10am ET and issue their rulings shortly thereafter, reports the New York Times. A quick primer on what to expect:

  • One case: DOMA. DOMA defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman, meaning that gay couples who legally wed in states that allow gay marriage are denied federal benefits. The high court must decide if the federal government can constitutionally do that. (More on the lesbian couple the case involves here.)
  • What could happen here: If DOMA is struck down, the federal benefits would start flowing to affected couples; if it's upheld, things will remain as they are. The court could also punt by saying that House Republicans do not have the standing to defend the law in the first place. The court sounded pretty skeptical during its oral arguments on the case three months ago, with SCOTUSBlog putting the chance of DOMA's demise at 80%.

  • Second case, Prop 8: California's voter-approved Prop 8 banned same-sex marriage after the state Supreme Court allowed it. A federal district judge struck down Prop 8, but his decision was stayed until the Supreme Court could weigh in.
  • What could happen here: There are more possible outcomes in this case. The court could uphold Prop 8, determine it is powerless to hear the case (more on that here), or strike Prop 8 down. Should the justices go with the third option, their ruling could go one of three ways, as explained here. Most narrowly, such a decision would affect only California. Most broadly, they could deem all bans on gay marriage unconstitutional.
  • You may have to wait a few minutes past 10am: The AtlanticWire notes that there's a third ruling coming today, and that'll likely be first in line.
  • Today's best sidebar: This Slate piece on how, and why, the Supreme Court schedules its decisions the way it does.
  • Interesting side note: The Times observes that when the justices heard arguments in the cases in March, gay marriage was legal in nine states, plus DC. In the months since, three more states have joined that group.

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Jun 27, 2013 12:06 PM CDT
In SPITE of S/C rulings, and the willingness and election of global law enforcement populations to support /NOT support that decision, this is one that will do greater HARM than good. It makes NO DIFFERENCE what gender someone is or whom they are loved by and share their love and life with; the sanctity of faith and family are two things that will no doubt bring an untimely death to more gays and homosexuals than anyone might have first imagined. People have the right to be loved and to love others, and those rights should not be seperated by tax laws and benefits. What has to remain seperate is the ideal that gay couples can affectively and adequately raise heterosexual children is a myth and a fallacy perpetuated by persons sharing a controversial lifestyle yet wanting to raise children as if nothing was different. I'm sorry, but our children are innocent. They are born into this world knowing nothing more than the need to be cared for. They learn to walk from need, to speak from association, how to dress from the examples that are set for them, and right from wrong by those who would teach them by example. They are never going to know different if the only loving association they are bound to is one of homosexual deviance. God made us as we are for the purpose of perpetuating life, love and family. NO ONE has the right to change that.
Jun 27, 2013 10:04 AM CDT
These people don't want to be married ! So some 2 week queer-fest can turn into a paper-signage and when the rich AIDS infected guy dies the other can continue to draw his social security. This is an insult to mothers who have carried and raised taxpaying children all their lives and who then lose their hard working husbands. One thing is for sure, these fruitcakes are going to bankrupt the social security system and they intend to.
Jun 26, 2013 10:58 AM CDT
Marriage is by definition the union of a man and a woman.