UPDATED: U.S. Supreme Court distributes Prop 8 and DOMA cases to its Dec. 7 private conference

WASHINGTON – The waiting game continues for LGBT Americans in their quest to achieve full equality.

Once again, the U.S. Supreme Court leaves LGBT Americans hanging in the wind, wondering whether the justices will ever make a decision about the Proposition 8 and Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) cases that are before them.

This morning, the high court announced its order list from last Friday's conference and it did not include any of the gay-rights issues.

Neither the Prop 8 nor the DOMA cases were on the list of cases that have been denied review.

This means that the cases are still alive before the high court, and the judges will next conference behind closed doors on Friday, Dec. 7. This is the last scheduled conference of 2012. News could leak out on Friday or on Monday, Dec. 10.

So the waiting continues.

Lyle Denniston, with the SCOTUS blog that follows the Supreme Court, wrote today:

The Supreme Court on Monday released added orders from its Friday Conference, but the list did not include any on the ten cases dealing with the same-sex marriage issue. It now appears that those cases will be rescheduled for the Conference this Friday.

[UPDATE:] The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), which filed the case against Proposition 8, said later Monday morning that the Prop 8 and DOMA cases have been officially distributed for consideration at the justices' closed-door conference on Friday, Dec. 7.

"The Supreme Court is expected to release an Order List with its decisions on cases it has granted or denied review from its December 7 Conference by Monday, December 10. In the event that the Court neither grants nor denies review in Perry by December 10, the Justices will discuss the case again at a future Conference," AFER said in a news release.

In an earlier news release, AFER wrote:

On July 30, 2012, the proponents of Proposition 8 asked the Supreme Court to review the February 2012 decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which affirmed the historic August 2010 judgment of the Federal District Court that found Proposition 8 unconstitutional. The Ninth Circuit held:

“Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples. The Constitution simply does not allow for ‘laws of this sort.’”

Proponents’ request for Supreme Court review, known as a petition for a writ of certiorari, is only granted upon an affirmative vote of four Justices.

Adam D. Umhoefer, AFER executive director, also emailed supporters a quick update on the Prop 8 case:

"The U.S. Supreme Court has not yet made an announcement about whether it will hear the Prop. 8 or DOMA cases. With five cases currently before them dealing with issues related to marriage for gay and lesbian Americans, there is no doubt the Justices have much to consider.

"We may hear soon that our case has been redistributed for consideration at the Court's next Conference, scheduled for this Friday, December 7. If this happens, we could get word from the Court that day, or the morning of Monday, December 10. It is important to remember that that the Supreme Court often takes more than one Conference to consider whether to grant review in certain cases.

"Here at AFER, we remain optimistic that the Justices will soon act in our case, either agreeing to hear our arguments or allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry in California, but we must also be prepared to stay vigilant into the New Year for a final determination from the Court."

Additional reading on Proposition 8

SCOTUS blog has posted the Prop 8 case as a "petition of the day," complete with documents relating to the Supreme Court appeal. Click HERE to review the documents.

Read plaintiffs' brief in opposition HERE.

Read proponents' petition for certiorari a href="http://www.afer.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/2012-07-31-Proponents-Petition-for-Certiorari.pdf” target="_blank"> HERE.

Read the Ninth Circuit's order denying rehearing en banc HERE.

Read the Ninth Circuit's decision HERE.

Read the federal District Court's decision HERE.

Additional reading on DOMA

Lambda Legal has a "one stop DOMA shop" HERE.

Ken Williams is Editor in Chief of SDGLN. He can be reached at ken@sdgln.com, @KenSanDiego on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to 888-442-9639, ext. 713.

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