Will Court Order Nationwide Gay Marriage Option?
In US District Court in California gay activists filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the California ban on gay marriage approved by voters in November, called Proposition 8, They argue that Prop 8 discriminates against gays and lesbians and that marriage s a basic right and that in this homosexuality needs special protections the same as gender and race. However, not all gay activists agree with this court challenge. They are concerned that it is a risky high stakes all in bet that could lose everything. They think that a federal challenge now after elections in several states where voters rejected gay marriage could be ill timed. Courts, especially the US supreme court, is reluctant order drastic change when the majority of the people does not approve. A loss in the supreme court would end the possibility of national gay marriage.
Gay supporters have made some significant gains in the past decade in a state-by-state strategy. They won in some states. Courts in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa legalized same-sex marriage. Legislatures in Vermont and New Hampshire voted for gay marriage. The city council in the District of Columbia voted for same sex marriage, but that is subject to congressional approval.
However there have been many gay marriage defeats. Voters in 31 states in recent years passed laws limiting marriage to opposite sex couples, Many people support same-sex civil unions but most Americans oppose same sex marriage. In November Maine voters reversed state law legalizing gay marriage. The New York and New Jersey legislatures rejected bills to legalize gay marriage.
The district court will rule in a few weeks, then it will go to the 9th district court of appeals. In the end the United States supreme court will decide if gay marriage is a constitutional right.