The Supreme Court of the United States released the schedule of oral arguments for the 2013 session, which begins on Monday, March 18. The schedule indicates that the Court will hear Hollingsworth v. Perry – the legal challenge to Proposition 8 in California – on Tuesday, March 26, and it will hear Windsor v. United States – a legal challenge to the so-called Defense of Marriage Act – on Wednesday, March 27.
The Proposition 8 case, Hollingworth v. Perry (formerly Perry v. Brown) dates back to March 2009, when the American Foundation for Equal Rights filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to challenge the constitutionality of Proposition 8. Prop 8, which passed in California on November 4, 2008, is a citizens’ initiative that repealed the freedom to marry in the state, overturning a May 2008 decision from the California Supreme Court legalizing marriage for same-sex couples across the state.
Windsor v. United States dates back to November 2010, when the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit on behalf of Edie Windsor, the 83-year-old widowed lesbian from New York who sued the government for the $363,000 in estate taxes that she was forced to pay under DOMA following the death of her late partner Thea Spyer in 2010. Windsor and Spyer were together for more than 40 years and wed in Canada in 2007. Because of DOMA, their marriage was not respected by the federal government.
In June 2012, U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Jones sided with Windsor by ruling DOMA’s Section 3 – which explicitly restricts marriage to different-sex couples – unconstitutional. In October 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld that lower ruling, and the case was subsequently petitioned to be heard by the nation’s highest court.
Freedom to Marry is excited for the nation’s highest court to have the opportunity to swiftly affirm what ten federal judges have already determined – that DOMA and federal marriage discrimination is unconstitutional and hurts American families – and to restore the freedom to marry in California.
Adam Polaski is a writer for numerous Blogs and Columns.