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Both sides await as high court prepares gay marriage rulings

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court will speak on gay marriage Wednesday morning, and from coast to coast, advocates, pastors and legal groups are preparing to answer back.

The opinions in the two landmark gay marriage cases — Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor — will be released soon after the high court sits for its last day in this session at 10 a.m.

Later in the day, gay rights groups such as Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Lambda Legal are holding briefings and teleconferences, while lawyers representing the gay couples will hold events on opposite coasts.

In New York City, Edith Windsor and her lawyers and allies will address a noon event at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center on West 13th Street, while in West Hollywood, Calif., the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), which represents two gay couples, will host a rally with LGBT leaders at the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and San Vicente Boulevard.

Ms. Windsor is seeking the overturn of the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which required her to pay estate taxes despite being married in Canada to her late lesbian partner, Thea Spyer.

AFER represents a lesbian couple and gay male couple who want the high court to strike down the voter-approved Proposition 8, which prevents them from marrying in California. Kristin Perry and Sandy Stier and Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo are AFER's clients.

In California, Attorney General Kamala Harris has called a press conference in Los Angeles Wednesday morning to discuss the rulings; California officials have already begun preparing to resume issuing marriage licenses to gay couples if Proposition 8 is struck down.

Also, supporters of gay marriage have been urged to post red "equality" signs on their social media pages. "As we count down the final hours to a ruling, we have to show the world the power of America's pro-equality majority," HRC said to its supporters.

On the other side of the issue, a group of black clergy is holding a press conference Wednesday in Memphis in support of married, mother-father families.
"The African-American community is already plagued with problems related to children growing up in single-parent households. We don't need further erosion of our communities and society," said Rev. William Owens, president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors.

At Protectmarriage.com, which supports California's Proposition 8 against gay marriage, supporters were calling for prayer for Wednesday's ruling, while the National Organization for Marriage urged thousands of supporters to retweet #1man1woman.

"No matter what the Supreme Court decides, the battle over marriage will continue. This is the defining culture line," said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, said Tuesday.

He and more than 200 leaders from many faiths have issued a "Marriage Solidarity Statement," which says its signatories will "stand together to defend marriage as what it is, a bond between one man and one woman, intended for life, and open to the gift of children."

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