The Supreme Court has decided to review cases from New York and California on the issue of federally and state-recognized same-sex marriage. Each case presents a unique question, but the holdings in both cases could dramatically affect the future of same-sex marriage in New York.
The case out of New York calls into question a federal law that prohibits the federal government from granting benefits to married same-sex couples residing in those states that recognize their unions. The California case bluntly calls upon the Court to reject or establish a right to same-sex marriage under the federal constitution.
Recent polling indicates that the majority of American adults support same-sex marriage. However, this public support does not ensure that the Court will rule any particular way in either case. Nine states currently recognize same-sex marriage. The holdings in the cases before the Court could either broaden the ability of same-sex couples to marry or endanger the rights of those who are already married or wish to marry in the nine states that allow them to do so.
The case out of New York focuses particularly on the rights of federal workers seeking spousal benefits for their same-sex partners in the states that recognize same-sex marriage. However, the reasoning that the Court will use to make its decision either way will almost undoubtedly be applied to various spousal benefits of all kinds for same-sex couples nationwide.
What other impacts might these decisions have? Please check back later this week as we continue our discussion on this important topic.
Source: New York Times, "Supreme Court to Take Up Gay Marriage," Adam Liptak, Dec. 7, 2012