Tomorrow is last day for Supreme Court to issue rulings on DOMA, Prop 8

Wednesday morning at 10am Eastern may be the most important day in gay civil rights history, perhaps on a par with the Stonewall Riots of 1969.

See our live coverage of the Supreme Court gay marriage decisions on DOMA and Prop here.

On Wednesday, June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court may rule on the constitutionality of both the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA prohibits the federal government from providing benefits to legally married gay couples, among  other things) and California’s Proposition 8 (which repealed the state’s gay marriage law).

The reason there’s so much expectation for tomorrow is that it will be the final day the court releases opinions this year.  And the DOMA and Prop 8 decisions have yet to be released.

Keep in mind, the court may not announce them at all this term.  The Supreme Court held over both Brown v Board of Education and Roe v Wade, not announcing the decisions until the court’s next terms.  Apparently this happens because the court has additional questions, or more generally, just needs more time to decide.

So, as usual, we are pawns in the Supreme Court’s cute little waiting game.

Supreme Court on the day they heard Bush v. Gore (photo by John Aravosis)

Supreme Court on the day they heard Bush v. Gore (photo by John Aravosis)

It’s a propitious week in gay history already:

Monday, June 24 is the anniversary of the largest mass murder of gays in American history.

Wednesday, June 26 is the 10th anniversary, to the day, of the Supreme Court’s decision striking down sodomy laws, Lawrence v. Texas.  That’s the decision in which far-right Republican Justice Antonin Scalia bemoaned in his dissent that the decision would mean states could no longer regulate masturbation:

State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity are likewise sustainable only in light of Bowers’ validation of laws based on moral choices. Every single one of these laws is called into question by today’s decision; the Court makes no effort to cabin the scope of its decision to exclude them from its holding…. The impossibility of distinguishing homosexuality from other traditional “morals” offenses is precisely why Bowers rejected the rational-basis challenge. “The law,” it said, “is constantly based on notions of morality, and if all laws representing essentially moral choices are to be invalidated under the Due Process Clause, the courts will be very busy indeed.”

What a massive disruption of the current social order, therefore, the overruling of Bowers entails.

Thursday, June 27 is the 44th anniversary of the first night of the Stonewall Riots (the riots happened overnight).

So tune in Wednesday at 10am Eastern.  I’ll be waiting with everyone else, and will report back here at that time with what happens.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • Butch1

    ;-)

  • http://poodyheads.wordpress.com/ Papa Bear

    Oh, THAT short list…
    :-D

  • Butch1

    ;-)

    There are at least four justices on this one and one more who is on notice. ;-)

  • http://poodyheads.wordpress.com/ zorbear

    Opps! My fault — I didn’t know our lists were limited…
    8-O

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    LOL!

    (Sadly, I have business meetings today and will have to abstain until a more…conventional drinking hour.)

  • JamesR

    SCOTCH TIME!!!!!!!!

  • JamesR

    I know enough to make analogies and get in trouble, thanks.

    Meanwhile THE CAT IS ALIVE!!! http://www.timemachinego.com/linkmachinego/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/schrodingers-cat-is-alive-dead.jpg

  • JamesR

    YES, good call. I hoped that too but Scalia watching is painful so I didn’t take a real close look. Thanks for the link. I will read it in full with more scotch later today.

  • Butch1

    I have a short list of fools that deserve to be booted off the bench long before this case but that’s another story. ;-)

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Exactly so

  • Chin up

    Perhaps this will raise some spirits?

    From the Pentagon Channel:

    Published on Jun 25, 2013
    © 2013 -Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel hosts the Pentagon’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender pride celebration.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESzsvII6VdM

  • Ninong

    Right, he used the cat-in-the-box thought experiment as an attack on the Copenhagen interpretation.

  • Ninong

    Schrödinger used the cat-in-the-box as a criticism of the prevailing explanation of quantum theory at the time. He wasn’t pushing the idea of a cat being both alive and dead until you opened the box to take a look inside, he was using that to show how absurd something like that would be.

  • Monoceros Forth

    Schroedinger did not invent the “Copenhagen interpretation” of quantum mechanics, he only dramatized it with the “Schroedinger’s Cat” thought experiment. He in fact did not like the Copenhagen interpretation.

  • FLL

    It’s kind of heartening that Scalia went on a 35-minute tirade against “judge moralists,” a not-so-subtle jab at his fellow jurists. This speech was on Friday at the North Carolina Bar Association (link here). His tantrum seems to hint that he’ll be on the losing side in the DOMA case.

  • Ninong

    I still think the decisions on both Perry and Windsor will be handed down tomorrow. I expect either a 5-4 or 6-3 decision overturning that part of DOMA that prevents the federal government from recognizing gay marriages performed in jurisdictions where it is legal. It could very well be narrow and only mean that if the gay marriage is performed in a state like New York, where it is legal, then it will be recognized by the federal government for all federal rights. Then if you move to another state, the feds will still recognize your marriage even if your new state does not. They may very well still allow states to decide for themselves whether to recognize gay marriages performed in other states, which seems absurd but who knows.

    Or maybe they will rule that the Full Faith and Credit clause requires all states to recognize all legal marriages performed in any other state. That would be very, very significant because it would amount to the same situation you have in Mexico, where if you get gay-married in Mexico City, then your marriage is recognized all over Mexico. So all you would have to do would be to travel to a state that permits out-of-staters to get gay-married without any lengthy residence requirement.

    As far as Perry is concerned, I have no clue how that’s going to come out except that I expect gay marriage to be legal once again in California. Remember, it could have been legal about ten years ago except that the Governator vetoed gay marriage bills passed by the Assembly and the Senate TWICE!

    So I think gay marriage will be legal in California. That’s the starting point. I think we have 5-4 on that one because of the way it left the 9th Circuit narrowly drawn with all those references to prior Kennedy opinions. I just don’t know if Kennedy was persuaded to make it any sort of expansive ruling or even if Ruth Bader Ginsburg was in the mood to “move too quickly,” or whatever it is she is quoted as saying in retrospect about Roe v. Wade.

    Bottom line: DOMA falls, at least when it comes to the feds recognizing legal gay marriages, and California gets gay marriage again!

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    And I toast yours. :-)

  • Chin up

    Perhaps they were doing Bad Cop today because it’s more important to do Good Cop tomorrow? Can’t imagine how they’d face the mirror after propping up DOMA, and now if they do the right thing, the weirder justices can still hold up their heads among the wingnuts.

    Perhaps they’ve cut a deal. Stranger things have happened.

  • Ninong

    The problem with the UpStairs Lounge was that it was upstairs in a very, very old French Quarter building. It was not owned or operated by the Mafia. There were burglar bars on the windows, the same sort of burglar bars that you could find all over the San Francisco Bay Area 40 years ago before they passed a law requiring that such bars had to have a quick release from the inside in case of fire or other emergency.

    Yes, there were two exits but apparently many of the bar’s patrons were either confused in the panic or unaware of the rear exit. The people who were saved used that rear exit to escape. Many of the people there at the time were not what you might consider regulars. That’s because it was some sort of church event held by the gay Metropolitan Community Church.

    Third, the entire lounge was completely covered in a dark red velvet fabric to hide the very old walls. That velvet was 100% petroleum-based polyester and highly flammable. I have no idea if that violated any laws at the time, just that it was extremely flammable. I don’t know what the laws were like in 1973, except that fixed burglar bars were common in New Orleans at the time and they were common in some neighborhoods of the Bay Area when I moved there in 1977.

    What I heard at the time — and I lived there and had been to that bar on a couple of occasions — was that a hustler, who was known to have caused pickpocketing problems in the past, was 86’d from the bar by the bartenders when he showed up. Then, apparently in a fit of revenge, he returned to the bar with a container of flammable liquid. He doused the very narrow, enclosed stairway and set it afire. When the door at the top of the stairs was opened from inside the lounge, the flames burst inside. Remember that the flames had already engulfed the enclosed stairway and opening the door at the top provided the flames with a source of oxygen.

    So the flames burst inside and the red polyester velvet drapes and wall covering practically exploded into flames. The bartenders led many of the patrons out the rear exit but the lounge — a large square room — was almost immediately engulfed in very dark black smoke and flames.

    You don’t want to know how the press and local media treated the story. There was more interest in identifying the names and occupations of the secret “queers” than in treating it as a terrible human tragedy. The story didn’t last in the local newspaper past the first day or two. I don’t remember the local Catholic archbishop issuing a statement at the time but I not positive of that one. New Orleans is predominately Catholic because that was the only religion recognized by the French and then Spanish and then French governments that ruled the city before it became a territory of the US in 1803 and finally a state in 1812. When I was a young boy, the city was at least 75% Catholic.
    So yes, it was a big human tragedy. I don’t think I knew any of the victims personally, although I had heard of a few of them and I had friends who were friends with some of them. The press and the TV media treated it as a tragic fire that happened to kill patrons of an upstairs “homosexual” hangout in the French Quarter. Lots of interest in the police report, just as there always was back then when it involved “homosexual” bars in the Quarter.

  • kingstonbears

    And my husband and I toast your continued happiness. Cheers!!

  • kingstonbears

    Have martini glasses ready and Madagascar stuffed queens to share.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Tempest in a teapot.

    Victory on the marriage front will be, if and only if it knocks down DOMA and state DOMA’s. will be welcome and a real victory but the main battle is for an all-inclusive constitutional amendment forbidding and robustly punishing discrimination in employment, housing and social services.

  • Mark_in_MN

    Maybe I didn’t write that as well as I should have. What I meant was that while making a simple announcement I don’t think he’s likely to be cagey or to intentionally use misleading language. It’s just an announcement. If he meant that some opinions weren’t ready, he could have said such in more direct language. Remaining opinions doesn’t mean ready opinions. Even if opinions aren’t ready, they are still due on a case, and so they remain. One has to overly parse the language reported to make it so inspecific to expect the court to do a very rare thing and not release the final outstanding opinions tomorrow, meaning that three cases will have rulings on Wednesday, including both marriage cases. How about a simple application of ockham’s razor instead of hair splitting and expecting what seems more like a conspiracy theory to prevent any such rulings. Add to it Scalia’s rant last Friday, and I see no reason to expect anything other than the rulings.

  • nicho

    Of course, Schrödinger was a jerk. The cat is either alive or dead. Not both at the same time. That’s just stupid. The cat’s state of being does not depend on our knowledge of it.

  • nicho

    Not that crafty? He’s a lawyer for crying out loud. That’s how lawyers talk. I don’t think he said anything of the sort. Please don’t sign any papers without having a lawyer check them out for you.

  • Mark_in_MN

    I don’t think Chief Justice Roberts is that crafty or that prone to parse language in simple announcements. I fully expect three decisions to be released tomorrow, including both marriage related cases, and I do think he said as much.

  • nicho

    If he had said that opinions on all remaining cases will be released, I would agree with you, but that’s not what he said. But the “plain meaning” of what he said was that all completed opinions would be released. Until all justices sign off on a case, there is no “remaining opinion” to release.

  • Mark_in_MN

    As someone who was once a physics major, I love the application of the analogy here. It’s perfect.

  • MichaelS

    I’m a whole lot less optimistic now, after the VRA ruling. From his questions in oral argument, sounds like Roberts will want to use the same logic they used to gut the VRA: that it’s no longer a problem (since more minorities are voting!). He’ll claim we don’t need intervention from the Court since we have political power, and I think Kennedy will go along.
    And btw, note that the court didn’t use that logic in its affirmative action decision… After all, whites have political power, so if they want to do away with affirmative action, they should do it through the legislative process!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    rotfl!

  • JamesR

    I have Schrödinger’s Hope until 10AM tomorrow, when we all see what is or is not inside that box.

    I have a Quantum of Hope. Until tomorrow.

    Then I too will have a Quantum of Scotch, either way!

  • Mark_in_MN

    But that wouldn’t be the plain meaning of the announcement. Everyone is expecting the court to issue the rulings before its term ends, and it only very rarely has left cases over to the next term. I think it is safe to say that if he said all remaining opinions will be released, it means that all remaining cases for the term (there are only 3 now) will have rulings released tomorrow.

  • mark_in_toronto

    My home country (the good ol’ USA) is very good at taking baby steps forward and giant steps backwards. History proves it.
    However, I predict SCOTUS to pass the buck until next term . . . which might be a good thing because as more time passes, the more people realize that gay people are just that . . . people. The general population is easing it’s way towards the common-sense attitude that . . . it just doesn’t matter who marries who . . who sleeps with who . . who loves who. History proves that also.

    There are much, much more important things to worry about . . . and these things are starting to come up and bite us on the ass. Two men living together is NOT one of them.

  • nicho

    Well, if they don’t have opinions, they won’t be released. If any justices are dragging their feet, they won’t have “opinions.”

  • Butch1

    Research the old mental institutions that could follow a court ordered ,with physician approved therapies and you will find that there definately are many case examples to scare today’s generation of gays. Many of these people are still living today especially the ones who were castrated. I wouldn’t be to quick to dismiss that information.

  • Mark_in_MN

    SCOTUSblog’s live blog of the today’s rulings had indicated that at the end of the morning’s proceedings the Chief Justice announced that tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10 a.m. would be the last day and that all remaining opinions will be released. Unless there is an inaccuracy in that report, it seems that Roberts has told us we’ll get DOMA and Prop 8 rulings on Wednesday.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    It is more than ironic that Handwich hysterically bemoans Aravosis as if he were some third person removed from the comments on his own site

  • http://poodyheads.wordpress.com/ zorbear

    I was talking about the “deserves to be booted off the bench” remark. Sorry I was unclear…

  • emjayay

    By that point I don’t think that stuff was happening very much mandated by the state. Of course it was now famously still happening in England at least, and probably here, only 20 years earlier. But it definitely could and did happen to minors under control of their parents. Or I suppose by deluded gay people themselves. Exodus was I guess a sort of lite version, and even that is amazingly enough over. I wonder if Marcus B is still at it, or just personally delusional.

  • emjayay

    I didn’t know about the possiblity of announcing a case could be, and has been, put off. Yikes.

  • emjayay

    Thanks for bringing that New Orleans arson fire to my attention. Never heard about it before.
    Obviously, New Orleans didn’t have or more likely wasn’t enforcing any fire codes at the time. Probably being New Orleans and being 1973 the place was Mafia run or otherwise paying off the inspectors. No one should have died from a fire in the entrance stairway.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I’m a pro.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    Remember that quote from “It’s a Wonderful Life”? “Every time Antonin Scalia masturbates, an angel loses its wings.” Love that one.

    Oop, there goes another couple of wings.

  • Sam_Handwich

    It’s more than a bit ironic that Aravosis bemoans the supreme court’s vast “waiting game” conspiracy, while dangling the pending court cases in his reader’s faces ad nauseam, even going as far making the hysterical prediction that these decisions may not be handed down until the next term.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    If that was to happen, I could easily see them booting the case and inviting whoever inherits Edie’s estate to start all over at local Federal district court — thereby starting the clock again at years to go.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I have 2/3 of a bottle of extremely rare single-malt scotch. (Opened initially on my 50th birthday four months ago in celebration of that, and of our not-quite-newly moved into house.)

    It’s going to get a serious dent in the remaining contents, either way, too.

  • Butch1

    I don’t know. I don’t know if it would continue or not or if she has any surviving kin or whether this would apply to them. Who knows how the lawyers are going to approach this.

  • Butch1

    It was 1974 that we were finally taken off the books for being considered a “disease.” Can you imagine having electroshock therapy; castration; lobotomies; and chemical therapy to sterilize you just for being gay? I would have said I was “cured” just to get away from these quacks! Of course, there was a jail sentence that went along with all of this.

  • Butch1

    I know I haven’t forgotten and I haven’t forgotten each of their names either.

  • Butch1

    Woe betide them if they do. I’m full of Irish curses I will send in their direction if they pull that stunt. They’ve had enough time to drag their knuckles.

  • http://poodyheads.wordpress.com/ zorbear

    Doesn’t that actually apply whether she dies first or not?

  • Butch1

    All I see is Scalia thumbing his nose at us with that smirk on his homophobic face. I just cannot erase that image.

  • Butch1

    It would be like Scalia to pull something like this and “need more time” to think about this, chuckling to himself and thumbing his nose at all of us whilst he vacations for the summer. They love to deny us our rights; meanwhile, there is an old woman waiting for them to make a decision on the DOMA case and time is running out on her life. I would hope that they do not play this sadistic game hoping that she will die before their ruling comes down in this case because if that is the case, every one of them who rules against getting rid of DOMA deserves to be thrown off of the bench and replaced by people who actually give a damn.

  • nicho

    I have prepared. I bought two bottle of vodka today. No matter what happens, they will be put to good use.

  • usagi

    No matter how cynical I get, I can’t keep up.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    And I thought I was being cynical. :)

  • trinu

    I expect the court will either find that the Prop 8 proponents lack standing or we’ll get burned. I’m cautiously optimistic about the DOMA case.

  • Monoceros Forth

    We’re gonna get burned. We’re gonna get roasted like nuts. (Actually I expect the court to punt the issue.)

  • JCaude4553

    мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт…­ ­ViewMore——————————————&#46qr&#46net/kkEj

    I’ll probably still be in bed
    with my wife. Because no matter what the ruling is, or whether there’s
    no ruling at all this term, the Supreme Court cannot take away the vows
    and commitment my wife and I made to each other on Winter Solstice 1998.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Oh, I don’t know. If they delay it could also be because they simply don’t give a damn about the civil rights of millions of Americans, and have completely forgotten the truth that justice delayed is justice denied.

    Let’s not forget how often our alleged “allies” throw us under the bus at the earliest possible opportunity.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I am feeling a curious mixture of hope and hopelessness, anticipation and dread.

    Mostly, I’m afraid of hoping for too much, for fear of the potential disappointment and what it would do to my equanimity.

  • basenjilover

    Wonder if I can sleep tonite with all this anticpation of the rullings tomorrow. *sigh*

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    “Keep in mind, the court might not announce them at all this term… this happens because the court has additional questions, or more generally, just needs more time to decide.”

    If they do delay, it will only be because they are scared to death of an outright revolt in the streets from them foisting too much partisan right-wing bullshit on us all at once.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I’ll probably still be in bed with my wife. Because no matter what the ruling is, or whether there’s no ruling at all this term, the Supreme Court cannot take away the vows and commitment my wife and I made to each other on Winter Solstice 1998.

  • Indigo

    I live with those thoughts all the time.

  • S1AMER

    I wonder how many people even realize that, up until 10 years ago tomorrow, many of us were still felons in the United States. Illinois was the first state to decriminalize us back in the early 1960s, and other states gradually moved us into the second-class-citizen-not-criminal column as the years went by. Still, as of 2003, we were still criminals in about a quarter of the states (mostly in the Bible Belt; of course).

    That was ten years ago. Where will we be this time tomorrow?

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