U.S. Supreme Court to Consider Whether to Hear Proposition 8 Case

U.S. Supreme Court to Consider Whether to Hear Proposition 8 Case
Prop. 8 and DOMA Cases Distributed for Nov. 20 Conference

Today, the United States Supreme Court indicated that it will consider whether to grant review in Hollingsworth v. Perry (formerly Perry v. Brown), the federal constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8. The Perry case, along with several cases challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), will be considered at the Justices’ private Conference scheduled for Tuesday, November 20. Enacted in November 2008, Proposition 8 eliminated the fundamental freedom of gay and lesbian Californians to marry. DOMA, which was enacted by Congress in 1996, nullifies the marriages of gay and lesbian couples for all purposes of federal law.

“For far too long, gay and lesbian couples in California have been waiting to exercise the fundamental freedom to marry that the United States Constitution already tells them they have,” said Adam Umhoefer, Executive Director of the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), the sole sponsor of the Perry case. “With the distribution of our case for the Court’s consideration, we move one step closer to the day when the nation will be able to live up to the promise of liberty and equality enshrined in our Constitution, and all Americans will be able to marry the person they love.”

The Perry case was filed on May 22, 2009 in Federal District Court on behalf of two California couples, Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, and Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo. On February 7, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a landmark ruling upholding the historic August 2010 decision of the Federal District Court that found Proposition 8 unconstitutional. On July 30, 2012, the proponents of Proposition 8 asked the Supreme Court to review the Ninth Circuit’s judgment. A request for Supreme Court review, known as a petition for a writ of certiorari, is only granted upon an affirmative vote of four Justices.

The Supreme Court is expected to either grant or deny review in Perry. Should the Court grant review, the Justices will go on to consider whether Proposition 8 violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. If the Court denies review, the February 2012 decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that struck down Proposition 8 is made permanent, ending four years of marriage inequality in California.

The Supreme Court is expected to release an Order List with its decisions on cases it has granted or denied review from its November 20 Conference by Monday, November 26.

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