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Court delays review on same-sex marriage

Court delays review on same-sex marriage
Jen (L) and Rose Nagle-Yndigoyed hold hands as they exchange wedding vows in Central Park on July 30, 2011 in New York City. Nearly a week after New York State legalized same-sex marriages gay couples have been marrying throughout the state. UPI /Monika Graff | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court Monday indicated it has delayed a decision on whether to hear argument in any of an array of cases dealing with same-sex marriage.

Eight challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, a similar Arizona law and California's Proposition 8, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, were considered during the high court's closed conference last Friday.

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But a check of the Supreme Court's docket Monday showed the cases have been rescheduled for a conference this Friday.

DOMA, enacted in 1996, says federal benefits and considerations for married couples apply only to heterosexual unions. The Obama administration is enforcing the 1996 act, but is one of the main challengers in court.

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Section 3, which is targeted in all the DOMA cases, says, "In determining the meaning of any act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word 'spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife."

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"Although Section 3 of DOMA does not purport to invalidate same-sex marriages in those states that permit them," the administration told the Supreme Court in a petition brief it "excludes such marriages from recognition for purposes of more than 1,000 federal statutes and programs whose administration turns in part on individuals' marital status. ... Section 3 of DOMA thus denies to legally married same-sex couples many substantial benefits otherwise available to legally married opposite-sex couples under federal employment, immigration, public health and welfare, tax and other laws."

California voters approved Proposition 8, the California Marriage Protection Act, in 2008 with slightly more than 52 percent for, nearly 48 percent against. Prop 8 said in part, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

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