Supreme Court rulings could affect marriage

The Supreme Court will review two court cases that challenge current laws on gay marriage.

The first case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, challenges California’s Proposition 8, a measure that banned same-sex marriage by amending the state constitution.  The second, United States v. Windsor, challenges a section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, law that defined marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman.

The cases will likely be argued before the court in March with decisions rendered in June.

Gay marriage has gained momentum in recent months.  President Obama announced his support in May. Washington, Maine and Maryland voted to legalize same-sex marriage in November, joining six other states.

Currently, 30 states ban gay marriage, including 19 that also ban same-sex civil unions. There are 9 states that have either legalized gay marriage or soon will be, according to the Washington Post’s Courts and Law.

The issue is especially charged in the Golden State, where gay students celebrated the ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that declared Proposition 8 unconstitutional last February.

In a recent Politico/George Washington University poll, 40 percent supported gay marriage, 30 percent supported civil unions but not marriage and 24 percent said they did not agree with any type of union.