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Marriage Cases Thrust Supreme Court Into Gay-Rights Fight

Publication Date: 
November 28, 2012
Business Week
Greg Stohr

Professor Jane Schacter spoke with Business Week's Greg Stohr about whether the Supreme Court will decide to take up the issue of same-sex marriage during its spring session. 

The U.S. Supreme Court is raising the stakes in the same-sex marriage debate as it considers taking up the issue for the first time, testing momentum built by advocates through electoral wins in four states this month.

The justices are scheduled to confer privately on Nov. 30 on 10 pending appeals, including clashes over the U.S. Defense of Marriage Act, which blocks gays from receiving federal marriage benefits, and a California ballot measure that outlawed same-sex nuptials there in 2008. The high court may say as early as that afternoon which cases it will consider.


The California case "would be an opportunity for the court to go on the record for the first time" on that issue, said Jane Schacter, a Stanford Law School professor who teaches constitutional and sexual-orientation law. The question is "whether they want to engage with the underlying issue of whether same-sex couples have a right to marry."


"You've got the political forces throughout the country very engaged in this," Schacter said. "Things are changing very quickly. They may just continue to let this percolate."