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Supreme Court Hearings On Marriage A Milestone In Gay Rights History

Publication Date: 
March 27, 2013
Source: 
San Francisco Chronicle
Author: 
Carolyn Lochhead

Professor Jane Schacter spoke with the San Francisco Chronicle's Carolyn Lochhead about the likelihood of the Supreme Court striking down DOMA and the potential legal arguments individual justices may invoke.

The Supreme Court may not be ready to find a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, as posed Tuesday by California's Proposition 8, but on Wednesday a majority of the justices seemed offended that the federal government denies hundreds of protections and benefits to legally married gay and lesbian couples.

The double-barreled attack on laws banning same-sex marriage, as California does, or denying federal benefits to gay and lesbian married couples under the federal Defense of Marriage Act, is a milestone in the gay civil rights movement.

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Stanford Law professor Jane Schacter said it is possible that the four liberal justices - Ginsberg, Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer - could strike down DOMA on equal protection grounds, joined by Kennedy on federalism grounds.