On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review Proposition 8, California’s same-sex marriage ban. On Sunday, gay and lesbian couples lined up to get married as Washington state’s new law approving same-sex unions went into effect. And today, many religious conservatives are asking whether the USA is going the way of ancient Rome. The Supreme Court will be deciding whether to uphold the appeals court ruling that struck down Proposition 8. In addition, the justices will be deliberating on the constitutionality of provisions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that deny legal benefits to same-sex couples who are married. A range of outcomes is possible including a broad decision that opens the way to same-sex marriage in every state or a narrow ruling that says Proposition 8 supporters lack legal standing. Many legal experts say the odds favor elimination of Proposition 8 and reinstitution of the California Supreme Court’s ruling that gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry in the Golden State. Throughout this country’s history, the high court has often been the arbiter that sorts out knotty social disputes. The burgeoning conundrum now is that there is a growing number of American citizens who are legally married under the laws of several states (including California before passage of Proposition 8).
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