Hot off the presses from our friend Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed:
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether California’s Proposition 8 marriage amendment is constitutional and whether the federal government can refuse to recognize gay couples’ marriages for tax purposes and other reasons, the court announced Friday.
The long-awaited announcement, first reported by SCOTUSblog, puts Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines “marriage” and “spouse” in all federal laws as being limited to marriages between one man and one woman, squarely before the nine justices in the case of Edith Windsor.
The court also accepted the request by the supporters of California’s Proposition 8 that the justices hear an appeal of that case, in which the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the law as unconstitutional.
In addition to the questions about whether the laws are constitutional, the court has asked the parties to respond to questions about “standing,” a constitutional limit on who can bring a case before the court because of a constitutional limit that courts only can hear actual “cases and controversies.” If a party doesn’t have standing to bring an appeal, the court cannot hear an appeal.
More as things develop. I’m looking for some reaction from gay groups, as well as mainstream political types…
UPDATE: From the “Courage Campaign” —
Statement of Rick Jacobs, founder and chair of Courage Campaign, a leading progressive organization that has been at the forefront of the fight against Prop 8:
“Last month, voters from Maine to Washington stood up for equality. Now it’s time for the Supreme Court to catch up with the American public. Discrimination and hatred have no place in a country founded on the principles of liberty, justice and equality.
“Despite the efforts of a vocal minority, from politics to business to culture we are seeing a rapid and historic shift towards equality for all. Only a year ago, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed. Now, no one cares. Sooner than later, no one will care about loving gay and lesbian couples marrying any more than they care about their straight counterparts doing so.
“Each day of delay brings more suffering and hardship. We continue to have tremendous confidence in the legal team led by Ted Olson and David Boies and will work tirelessly to make sure the court does not reverse years worth of momentum in the this country towards equality.”
From” Freedom to Marry“:
Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, released this statement:
“By agreeing to hear a case against the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, the Court can now move swiftly to affirm what 10 federal rulings have already said: DOMA’s ‘gay exception’ to how the federal government treats married couples violates the Constitution and must fall. When it comes to the whole federal safety net that accompanies marriage – access to Social Security survivorship, health coverage, family leave, fair tax treatment, family immigration, and over 1000 other protections and responsibilities — couples who are legally married in the states should be treated by the federal government as what they are: married.”
“Additionally, gay and lesbian couples in California – and indeed, all over the country – now look to the Supreme Court to affirm that the Constitution does not permit states to strip something as important as the freedom to marry away from one group of Americans.
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today praised the U.S. Supreme Court for agreeing to grant certiorari in the case determining the validity of Proposition 8:
“We believe that it is significant that the Supreme Court has taken the Prop 8 case,” said John Eastman, NOM’s chairman and former Dean (and current professor) at Chapman University School of Law. “We believe it is a strong signal that the Court will reverse the lower courts and uphold Proposition 8. That is the right outcome based on the law and based on the principle that voters hold the ultimate power over basic policy judgments and their decisions are entitled to respect.”