WASHINGTON – For the second consecutive week, the Proposition 8 and Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) cases did not make the list of cases that the U.S. Supreme Court will take up this session, nor were they placed on the list of cases they decline to review.
The nation's high court begins its new term today, and each Monday the justices publicly announce which cases they will review and which ones they will drop.
The nine justices have reviewed hundreds of cases, including several important ones involving gay rights.
After four long years, Californians are awaiting the resolution of the Proposition 8 case that was ruled unconstitutional by the lower courts in 2010. With no action on the gay rights cases today, the next possible date for an announcement is Oct. 9 and leaves two possible scenarios:
1. The Supreme Court, on Oct. 9, will release the list of cases that it will not consider. If the Prop 8 and/or DOMA cases are placed on that list, then the lower court rulings will stand. Gay and lesbian couples in California would again be able to marry, as soon as the lower courts sign off on the case.
2. However, if the Prop 8 and/or DOMA cases are not on the list, that means the Supreme Court could be postponing any decision on those cases until after the presidential election, making Nov. 19 a highly watched date. There is also the distinct possibility that the justices will merge several high-profile gay-rights cases to review en masse.
Adam D. Umhoefer, executive director of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, said today in an email to supporters:
"News outlets and legal scholars are speculating that we might not hear from the Supreme Court until around Thanksgiving, when all the cases challenging the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) will be eligible for consideration by the Justices."
Proposition 8 was ruled unconstitutional by the federal district court in San Francisco on Aug. 4, 2010 and upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Feb. 7, 2012.
Ken Williams is Editor in Chief of SDGLN. He can be reached at [email protected], @KenSanDiego on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to (877) 727-5446, ext. 713.