by ANDREA FRENCH Section Editor
The Supreme Court has taken up cases against Proposition 8 in California and the legality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. In late March, the Supreme Court had more than two days of heated arguments while trying to come to a decision. It is likely that the ultimate decision will be made in June, which could have far-reaching effects on the legality and recognition of same-sex marriage.
Proposition 8 is a constitutional amendment that was passed by voters in November 2008 that overturned the California Supreme Court’s ruling allowing same-sex marriage. The amendment changed the definition of marriage to “only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”
DOMA is a federal law in the United States that restricts federal marriage benefits and demands inner-state marriage recognition only to opposite sex marriage. It was put in place in 1996 when Bill Clinton was president.
A Washington D.C. lawyer, Paul Smith, stood in front of the Supreme Court on March 26, 2013 just as he had done exactly 10 years earlier to the day. In 2003, Smith came to the court with the hopes of invalidating certain state laws in Texas. These laws made homosexual behavior a criminal offense, all of which he got invalidated.
Smith argued that Proposition 8 violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which grants equal rights to all citizens.
“I just don’t understand what all the fuss is about with the right for gay couples to marry. It’s like they don’t already get enough negative attention from the harsh public, now they need to be told by the government that they cannot marry the person that they love. This whole thing is ridiculous, and people should be allowed to marry someone of the same sex because they are no different than heterosexual couples,” says an anonymous source.
Throughout the Supreme Couts hearings, there have been many arguments made by both sides.
Sonia Sotomayor, a Supreme Court justice asked the other justices if Congress could just “create a group of people they don’t like, and then treat them differently than everyone else.”
“It seems like this is one of those issues in our country, and the world, that will never be agreed upon. We can sit here an fight over which is the right decision when really it is all up to a person’s opinion. It just seem we are wasting a lot of Supreme Court time on an issue that should already be decided upon,” says sophomore Michael Perrotta.
Understanding why the Supreme Court is being forced to rule on this is easy to understand. What is harder to understand is when a person’s life and sexual orientation became a decision left up to the government.