Will The Issue Of Same-Sex Marriage Make The Supreme Court Docket?

Scales of JusticeAfter meeting in private this past Friday, the United States Supreme Court did not include on its list of cases to be heard in the near future any of the ten (10) cases on its docket dealing with same sex marriage.

The cases before the Supreme Court include a review of the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (‘DOMA”), which defines marriage as between one man and one woman, as well as Proposition 8, the California law banning same sex marriage.

It is possible that the Court, which meets weekly to discuss the cases it will add to its roster, may still decide to hear these cases during this term, but it is too soon to know. Although experts report the court often saves complex cases for later in a term when it has had time to further consider the issues, there is also a sense that these cases may be too political and not yet ripe for the court’s involvement. The next opportunity for consideration will be this Friday, December 7.

If the Court refuses to hear the case challenging Proposition 8, which a California Federal Appeals Court has struck down as unconstitutional, then the Appeals Court’s decision will become law and persons who are residents of California will be permitted to marry in that state. However, because of DOMA, these persons will have no rights to federal benefits, such as Social Security Survivor’s benefits.


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Ellen S. Fischer of the Law Office of Ellen S. Fischer has been working closely with individuals and families throughout the greater Philadelphia region for more than 20 years. Ellen received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Temple University and returned to earn a Juris Doctor degree from the Temple University School of Law. Ellen serves on a number of leadership committees and is a member of Gay and Lesbian Lawyers of Philadelphia (GALLOP). In addition to LGBTQ services, Ellen's practice areas are family law and personal injury.