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SCOTUS to Consider Marriage Equality Petitions September 24

By Robyn Hagan Cain on September 06, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Last term, the Supreme Court heard the healthcare case, the Arizona immigration law appeal, and warrantless GPS tracking. This term, the Court will decide whether affirmative action will continue to be a part of university admissions considerations, and it could decide whether the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is constitutional.

How did the Court become so interesting?

According to The Onion, the Nine got a big-shot new agent to ensure that it hears all the juiciest cases.

(The Onion, by the way, is a satirical newspaper. In case you didn’t know. Because some people don’t.)

All kidding aside, SCOTUSblog reports that the Court will consider whether it will accept three of the hotter cases awaiting review during its September 24 conference. The cases are: Hollingsworth v. Perry, Windsor v. United States, and Brewer v. Diaz.

As we mentioned last week, there are now seven marriage equality cases vying for Supreme Court review during the 2012 term. Most of those cases focus on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), challenging whether DOMA can constitutionally limit federal marriage-related benefits for same-sex couples. The lone non-DOMA case in the pack is Hollingsworth v. Perry, (formerly Perry v. Brown), which is the California Prop 8 challenge.

Among the DOMA cases, most of the challenges center on whether DOMA is unconstitutional because it precludes legally-married same-sex couples from receiving marriage-related federal benefits. The second marriage equality case in the September 24 conference, Windsor v. United States, addresses whether DOMA precludes equal protection under federal tax laws.

The third case, Brewer v. Diaz, questions whether a state can eliminate health coverage for same-sex domestic partners of state employees.

It seems likely that the Supreme Court will consider the constitutionality of DOMA Section 3 — if not marriage equality generally — in the 2012 term: Only four justices’ votes are needed for a grant of certiorari. For now, however, it’s a wait-and-see game.

The good news? We could know soon if we’re in for another blockbuster term.

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