A decision about whether the U.S. Supreme Court will take up a gay-marriage case could come as early as Monday.
The court was scheduled Friday to discuss a California gay-marriage lawsuit, as well as several other cases involving the federal government’s primary marriage law.
The American Foundation for Equal Rights, which sued to overturn California’s Proposition 8, reported that it heard “no action yet” after the Friday conference on the case, known as Hollingsworth v. Perry. Four justices must agree to hear a case before it moves forward.
The high court will post any decisions at 9:30 a.m. Monday.
If there are no decisions about the gay-marriage cases, it means the justices may discuss them at a future conference, including one on Dec. 7.
California supporters of gay marriage are eagerly waiting for a Supreme Court ruling on Hollingsworth, because if it declines to hear the case, then the voter-passed Proposition 8 — which defines marriage in California as the union of one man and one woman — is struck down, and gay marriage will quickly resume in the Golden State.
“Prop. 8 will be gone for good, and marriage equality will be restored in California,” said Adam Umhoefer, executive director of AFER, about that scenario.
Gay marriage was permitted in 2008 for a few months during the time between a California Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage and voters passing Prop. 8 on Election Day.
This year, AFER lawyers Theodore Olson and David Boies asked the Supreme Court not to review the case, because, they said, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals correctly found Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional in a 2-1 ruling. The appellate court “did nothing more than restore to gay people the equal dignity of which Proposition 8 had divested them,” AFER argued, noting on its website that the Supreme Court has already ruled 14 times that marriage is a fundamental right.
Protectmarriage.com, which is asking the Supreme Court to take the case, argued that more than 7 million Californians “of all races, creeds and walks of life” voted for Proposition 8, as they believed the unique relationship between one man and one woman should continue to be the cornerstone of society.
The organization and its co-petitioners, Dennis Hollingsworth, Gail J. Knight, Martin F. Gutierrez and Mark A. Jansson, are asking whether the U.S. Constitution prohibits the people of California from defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman in their state.
If the high court takes the Hollingsworth case, it would likely not render a decision until summer.
If the court rejects the case, state clerks, officials and gay couples are all preparing for marriage, according to California media reports. “It could be an early holiday gift for Californians, especially to Paul Katami and Jeffrey Zarrillo, as well as Kristin Perry and Sandra Stier,” the four plaintiffs in the Proposition 8 trial, according to the San Diego Gay and Lesbian News.