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Everything You Need to Know About the Marriage Equality Cases At The Supreme Court

And where the surging support for marriage equality will lead.

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– Chief Justice Roberts: Roberts has a  lesbian cousin who will attend the marriage arguments as his personal guest, and he once  did pro bonowork on behalf of gay rights activists when he was an attorney in private practice. Nevertheless, Roberts remains  very conservative and has a  long record of criticizing decisions that read the Constitution’s promise of equality broadly. If Roberts does vote with a pro-equality majority, it is just as likely that he will do so in order to  wrest control of the opinion and narrow it as he would to extend the blessings of liberty to gay Americans. Chance of pro-equality vote: 10 percent.

– Justice Alito: Alito is probably the toughest conservative questioner on the Court, and he has emerged as a strong advocate for whatever outcome conservatives prefer. Chance of pro-equality vote: less than one percent.

– Justice Scalia: In past opinions, Scalia compared homosexuality to murder, drug addiction, bestiality, incest and child pornography. Chance of pro-equality vote: 0 percent. Chance his opinion will accuse pro-equality justices of kowtowing to the “homosexual agenda”: 99.99 percent.

Surging Support For Marriage Equality

– Marriage Equality Has Strong Bipartisan Support: Retired Judge Vaughn Walker, the first judge to strike down Prop 8,  is a Republicanappointed to the bench by President George H.W. Bush. Three of the court of appeals judges that voted to declare DOMA unconstitutional  areRepublicans. 131 top Republicans,  including six former Republican governors, filed a brief supporting marriage equality.

– The American People Support Marriage Equality: Fifty-eight percent of Americans  believe same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. Among adults under 30, support is at 81 percent.

The Constitution guarantees “ the equal protection of the laws” — and that includes same-sex couples. As the Supreme Court has explained, this guarantee is most robust when applied to groups that experienced a “‘ history of purposeful unequal treatment‘ or been subjected to unique disabilities on the basis of stereotyped characteristics not truly indicative of their abilities.” LGBT Americans undoubtedly fit this description, and thus neither DOMA nor Prop 8 can stand.


Ian Milhiser is a Policy Analyst and Blogger on legal issues at the Center for American Progress and the CAP Action Fund.
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