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Topics In the News
AFER's Matt Baume Explains Supreme Court's Marriage Precedents
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 11/28/12
Last updated on: 11/28/12
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Matt Baume.

In a new video released by the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), Matt Baume explains the cases in which the Supreme Court of the United States has previously ruled that marriage is a fundamental right. AFER is the sponsor of the Proposition 8 case that, along with several cases challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and a case from Arizona involving domestic partner benefits, is currently pending before the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has scheduled a conference for November 30, 2012 to decide whether it will hear the gay-related cases that have been petitioned for review. Most observers believe that the Court will accept at least one of the DOMA cases for review. Less certain is whether it will grant review to the Proposition 8 case or the Arizona case.

It is expected that the Supreme Court will announce which cases have been accepted for review by December 3, 2012. The cases that are accepted for review will probably be argued in the spring and the decisions handed down in June 2013.

If the Supreme Court refuses to grant certiorari (or review) to the Proposition 8 case, then same-sex marriages could resume in California within days of the announcement.

However, there is a distinct possibility that the Prop 8 and Arizona cases will be held over until the DOMA case(s) that the Court accepts is decided in June.

In his new video, Baume reviews the Supreme Court's previous rulings on marriage. The high court has ruled on marriage some 14 times, in cases that involve a wide range of issues, including parenting, divorce, reproduction, and housing. Collectively, these rulings have clearly established that marriage is a fundamental freedom.

The question is whether the Court will extend this fundamental freedom to gay and lesbian couples.

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