By Kandyce Hall |Staff Writer|
While CSUSB students relaxed during their spring break, the United States Supreme Court justices were busy listening to opening statements on two prominent cases that could be the next milestone for gay rights.
California Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) were introduced before the U.S. Supreme Court March 26 and 27 by former IBM programmer, Edie Windsor, to nationally recognize the validity of same-sex marriage.
The Court listened to arguments on the California Prop 8 case, also known as Hollingsworth v. Perry, where two opposing arguments were formed by Theodore B. Olsen and Charles J. Cooper, former lawyers in the Reagan Administration
“Equal right to marry is a basic American liberty,” Olsen said.
Olsen’s argument was followed by Cooper, who was representing the state of California.
“The decision to change state marriage laws should be left to the voters in each state,” said Cooper.
DOMA, sec. 3, restricts marriage benefits to heterosexual couples, which is the foundation for the United States v. Windsor case.
Windsor sued the Federal government after not receiving a refund in the federal estate taxes that were paid for the death of her partner of over 40 years, which lead to the United States v. Windsor case.
Windsor, 83, argued that DOMA sec. 3 violated her rights, but under consideration of the court they found it unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment.
The case questions whether it is constitutional for the U.S. government to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages that have been recognized by the states.
Once the cases hit court, more people began to take a stand on gay marriage rights.
U.S. Rep Pete Visclosky, along with members of Sojourners, a Christian organization committed to faith in action for social justice, have demonstrated their support for marriage equality.
Students on campus have begun to voice their opinions on the issue as well.
“I think you should be able to marry who you love,” said student Caitln Thomas.
The argument of the defense of Proposition 8 is that marriage laws should be left up to the state to decide. If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Proposition 8, it will be encroaching into states power.
“If a state law is unconstitutional the federal government has the right to change it,” Thomas said.
Student James Walker hopes Federal Defense of Marriage Act will be overturned.
“Marriage is religious,” Walker said. “They don’t have jurisdiction over marriage. They do, however, have jurisdiction over marriage benefits.”
Proposition 8 was passed by California voters in November 2008 elections. It added an amendment to California Declaration of Rights that stated, “Only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”
Prior to Proposition 8, The Defense of Marriage Act was enacted on Sept. 21, 1996 under President Bill Clinton.
The Law restricted federal marriage benefits and required inter-state marriage recognition only to opposite-sex marriages.
The Supreme Court’s decisions on the two cases are expected by July.