Court Will Consider Same-Sex Marriage Issues Next Year

U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington D.C. (Photo credit: Architect of the Capitol)

U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington D.C. (Photo credit: Architect of the Capitol)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in two cases that could lead to a ruling on whether same-sex couples have a Constitutional right to marry.

Windsor v. the United States will give the court the chance to rule on the Constitutionality of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage for purposes of any federal law. Edith Wheeler and Thea Spyer, who lived in New York state, married in Canada in 2007. After Spyer died two years later, Windsor paid $363,000 in federal estate taxes. She sought a refund, but the IRS rejected her request because it didn’t recognize her as Spyer’s spouse.

Hollingsworth v. Perry asks the Supreme Court to consider whether California’s Proposition 8, which added a same-sex marriage ban to the state Constitution, is legal.

The court is expected to hear arguments in the cases in March and release rulings in June.

The Human Rights Campaign is asking supporters to sign an online petition to show the Court that a majority of Americans believe that same-sex couples should have the legal right to marry.

New Jersey is one of three states that neither allows nor prohibits same-sex marriage, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Assemblyman Reid Gusciora wants to put the question to voters next year, but state Senate President Stephen Sweeney wants to try to override Gov. Chris Christie’s veto of a bill legalizing same-sex marriage instead.

New Jersey voters support legalizing same-sex marriage by a 53% to 36% margin, according to a Public Policy Polling survey conducted late last month.

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