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Supreme Court & Marriage: What Happens Now?


By Matt Baume

More suspense from the Supreme Court, with an announcement in the Prop 8 case pushed back to Friday at the earliest. Meanwhile, a setback in a Nevada lawsuit, but now the case goes to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. That court previously ruled in favor of marriage equality in the Prop 8 case. And with a string of losses and plummeting poll numbers, anti-gay groups are quickly running out of donors.

Once again, there’s no word from the Supreme Court about the Prop 8 case or the multiple cases involving the Defense of Marriage Act. All of those cases have been re-conferenced for this coming Friday, December 7. That means we may get word by the following Monday, the 10th.

This ongoing suspense is difficult for everyone, but it’s particularly agonizing for the thousands of gay and lesbian couples who are waiting to find out whether they can get married.

Fortunately, the wait is nearly over in Maine. This week the state announced that couples can begin getting marriage licenses on December 29th. But there’s a catch: while there’s no waiting period for marriage in Maine, December 29th is a Saturday. It’s unclear whether there will be special hours to accommodate the start of marriage. But more details are expected soon.

And there’s been a temporary setback in Nevada. A federal judge ruled in the case Sevcik v Sandoval that there is a legitimate government interest in limiting marriage to heterosexual couples. Lambda Legal will appeal the ruling to the Ninth Circuit, a court that has proven relatively receptive to arguments for marriage equality. Earlier this year, the Ninth Circuit upheld a ruling that found Prop 8 to be unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, organizers in Illinois are laying the groundwork for a massive field organization. With new offices in Westmount and Springfield, Equality Illinois plans to lobby lawmakers to pass a marriage bill in the upcoming 2013 session.

And new polling in Michigan shows a majority supports the freedom to marry. This continues a trend over the last year and a half in Michigan, with support steadily climbing and opposition dropping.

That mirrors the trend nationally. A new survey this week from CBS shows 51 percent of Americans support marriage equality with 41 percent opposed. This is the 18th national survey to show majority support.

And that steady climb in support isn’t just apparent in polling. You can also see it in fundraising, with donors to anti-gay groups growing increasingly scarce. A new investigation from the Human Rights Campaign shows that in 2011, the National Organization for Marriage had only two major donors responsible for 75 percent of the anti-gay group’s budget. NOM raised 6 point 2 million dollars in 2011, down from 9 point 1 million in 2010.

This year, NOM suffered defeat in all four states with marriage on the ballot. We look forward to seeing the effect that their losing streak will have on NOM’s ability to retain donors in the future.

We’ll be getting news from the Supreme Court any day now. Remember to subscribe on YouTube and at for breaking news alerts on the Prop 8 and DOMA cases.


  • 1. Bob  |  December 4, 2012 at 7:06 pm

  • 2. Gregory in SLC  |  December 5, 2012 at 5:06 am

    Thanks Bob…hadn't heard of this, I'll be watching!

  • 3. Reformed  |  December 4, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Nice to hear that the Nevada case is headed for the 9th circuit. So what does it prove . . . nothing. What does it illustrate? Lets see, the judge that issued this ruling was a Morman right? I think it would be more relevant if that were not the case. Well, stike that. It would still just be an outlier. (I hope he is a Morman, seems like I heard that somewhere, but not in the fact checking mode right now.)

  • 4. grod  |  December 4, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    While you mentioned NOM's setbacks. I'll add that NOM’s October 26 report on expenses to be file with the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices was filed 14 hours late. They were initially fined $8001, but on Nov 13, it requested the penalty be waived; saying the error in filing was inadvertent . On November 28, the Commission agreed to reduced the penalty to $2000. Not much sympathy for NOM in the Comments of BDN.

  • 5. Sammy  |  December 5, 2012 at 6:33 am

    Colombia legislature just passed marriage equality bill through first senate committee by 10-5 vote!

  • 6. Straight Ally #3008  |  December 5, 2012 at 6:38 am

    So France AND Colombia are going to beat the U.S. to national marriage equality. It's great news, but I'm amazed at how many countries are beating us to the punch here in the Land of the Free.

  • 7. Anthony  |  December 5, 2012 at 10:30 am

    The problem with our country is this ridiculous state by state system. We'll have to have a certain number of states legalize same sex marriage, and then go ahead and ask SCOTUS to strike down the remaining bans. I think this is what will be the case.

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