SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The Supreme Court will hear two days’ worth of arguments over laws affecting gay marriage during the last week of March, including California’s Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage.
Justices on Monday announced they will hear arguments in the Proposition 8 challenge, known as Hollingsworth v. Perry on March 26 and a Defense of Marriage Act challenge, known as United States v. Windsor on March 27.
California’s Proposition 8 is the state constitutional ban on gay marriage that voters adopted in 2008 after the state Supreme Court ruled that gay Californians could marry.
The initiative’s sponsors contend that California voters were entitled to decide to preserve the definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman. They argued that each state, working through its legislature or voters, has the right to define marriage within its territory.
Two same-sex couples who challenged Proposition 8 in a civil rights lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco in 2009 said the ban violates their constitutional right to equal treatment.
Federal courts in California have struck down the state’s constitutional ban, but that ruling and thus gay unions remain on hold while the issue is being appealed. Supporters of same-sex unions had urged the Supreme Court to stay out of the case and allow weddings to resume in the nation’s largest state.
The court’s nine justices will hear at least one hour of arguments in their Washington, D.C., courthouse beginning at 7 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.
The case being heard second concerns a federal law that denies gay couples who legally marry the right to obtain federal benefits available to heterosexual married couples. The court scheduled one hour’s worth of arguments March 27th. Justices can still extend the amount of time given to arguments in each case, however.
The high court’s decision is expected by the end of June.
Nine states—Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and Washington—and the District of Columbia allow gay marriage.
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