Reading the Tea Leaves on Same-Sex Marriage

Thursday, March 28, 2013

This week, the Supreme Court heard two potentially historic cases on same-sex marriage: Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Proposition 8 case out of California, and United States v. Windsor, the case that will determine the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.

Now the justices retreat to their respective quarters to decide the fate of Proposition 8, DOMA, and, potentially, the future of marriage as an institution in the United States.

Wednesday's arguments in United States v. Windsor seemed to indicated that a majority of the justices will rule DOMA unconstitutional. Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Court's resident swing justice, noted in oral argument that DOMA "is not consistent with the historic commitment of marriage and — and of questions of — of the rights of children to the State."

Justice Ginsburg echoed her colleague's sentiment. "It's not as though, well, there's this little Federal sphere and it's only a tax question," she said. "It's — it's — as Justice Kennedy said, 1100 statutes, and it affects every area of life. And so he was really diminishing what the State has said is marriage. You're saying, no, State said two kinds of marriage; the full marriage, and then this sort of skim milk marriage."

How the Court will rule in Hollingsworth v. Perry is less clear, explains Adam Liptak, Supreme Court correspondent for Takeaway partner The New York Times. 

The Hollingsworth argument, Liptak writes, "was murky and muddled, and many of the questions from the justices suggested that they were looking for a way to duck the central issue."

Our Washington correspondent, Todd Zwillich, is filling in as host all this week. Follow Todd on Twitter for the latest from Capitol Hill.


Adam Liptak

Hosted by:

Todd Zwillich

Produced by:

Jillian Weinberger

Comments [2]

oscar from ny

The justices are one of the brighter ppl on the land, so I hope they realize that California is a state mostly built on Mexican traditions wich can be argued that they have a distinct take on homosexuallity.
The west coast has a younger views in this matter and are very homophobic, the hot picante makes everyone more aggressive, if you haven't niticed you can even watch Jay Lenno show and most of the jokes are consisten of sexual induendo , if they say "sasuage" they already laugh like children, its almost unforgiven if you say something sexual or gay or do something gay, here in NY the ppl are older and are more understanding of other ppls traditions or concerns so I think maybe the states might have to conclude a resolution individually. I do know that homosexuallity is very ancient and everyone at everytime in human history has dealt with this, but gays are fighting for equal rights and that's the issue, no matter how ugly ppl think this is, gays want to be treated as equals, as for me you can marry an uguana is all the same to me, ppl will choose what they like or want but unfrigment on your freedom is what this debate I think for...let God deal with them at the resurrection if they are commiting a crime, but the law of the land should have equal protection fir everyone.

Mar. 29 2013 10:46 AM

Same Sex / Same Rights: A Muslim Perspective

In 1955, Rosa Parks refused to vacate her bus seat to a white man. More than a half century later, the fight for equal rights continues. I ponder this fact daily, as a Muslim woman defending my gay client as he struggles against deportation in order to remain with his American-born spouse. As much as the efforts of equal rights advocates are changing the tenor of the debate, the sound of bigotry prevails–even in a democracy where every individual should be counted as ‘persons’ under the 14th Amendment.

U.S. federal law protects individuals from discrimination or harassment based on sex, race, age, disability, color, creed, national origin, or religion. When we inconsistently observe the rules, we lose the virtues that make this country worthwhile and its constitution true to its word. To put on blinders and pretend that we do not see this point is like a willingness to tolerate cancer when a cure is at hand.

As an American Muslim, I should not be in the practice of deciding who deserves protection and who does not.

In September, 2001, a national campaign began to diminish the rights of people like me. As a Muslim, I was offended by the lockstep life that had been charted by those who came to hate us. As an American, I was saddened by my country’s unwillingness to respond to what was so obvious.

As we await the decision of the Supreme Court, I hope that wisdom will overcome ignorance and my own religious community will not be among those who say that gays and lesbians are not worthy of civil rights protection. It is not good enough to say we favor equality and then deny it for a selected group of people.

Discrimination–whether it shows up in Black versus white, Muslim versus Christian or whether it shows against the gay community today–is wrong. All that is left is the moral asphyxiation of this nation that somehow cannot find the moral leverage to rise up and denounce the evil of inequality and the wickedness of social injustice.

Khalilah Sabra, Director
Muslim American Society (MAS) Immigrant Justice Center
DOJ/BIA Accredited Representative
(919) 3458105

The views and opinions expressed in this communication do not necessarily reflect the official positions of the staff, management and directors of the Muslim American Society, its affiliates, or its chapters.

Mar. 28 2013 10:16 AM

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