Supreme Court To Hear Same-Sex Marriage Cases

The court will hear the case brought by Edie Windsor (right) following the death of her spouse Thea Spyer (left).

The court will hear the case brought by Edith Windsor (right) following the death of her spouse Thea Spyer (left).

On Friday, the United State Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in Proposition 8 and Defense of Marriage Act cases. BuzzFeed explains:

The long-awaited announcement, first reported by SCOTUSblog, puts Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines “marriage” and “spouse” in all federal laws as being limited to marriages between one man and one woman, squarely before the nine justices in the case of Edith Windsor.

The court also accepted the request by the supporters of California’s Proposition 8 that the justices hear an appeal of that case, in which the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the law as unconstitutional.

In 2010, Windsor filed a lawsuit challenging a decision by the Internal Revenue Service ordering her to pay $363,053 in estate taxes. A married, heterosexual couple wouldn’t face the same tax under federal law.

From CNN‘s senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin:

This is a major event in American history, not just in Supreme Court history. The Supreme Court is not just going to decide whether the Defense of Marriage Act is constitutional, they are also going to decide whether Proposition 8 in California  whether the ban on same-sex marriage there is unconstitutional and that could affect all 50 states.

Oral arguments are expected to begin in March, with a decision likely coming in late June 2013.