How passage of marriage equality could affect SCOTUS decision

Terry Baynes at Reuters considers how the recent success in four states on marriage equality could affect SCOTUS’ decision on the issue:

Historically, the Supreme Court has provided a single national framework on social issues like same-sex marriage, said James Essex, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union. But it generally does so only after much of the country has reached a consensus, said Essex, who helped bring one of the challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act.

In 1967 the court ruled that Virginia could no longer ban interracial marriage, reversing a ruling that had stood since 1883, after several states repealed their anti-miscegenation laws. And in 2003 the court found that Texas could not ban sodomy, noting that the number of states with laws banning homosexual conduct had dropped from 25 to 13 since it had made the opposite finding in 1986.

“Every time it becomes clear marriage equality is more accepted and popular, that helps us in the Supreme Court in some hard-to-quantify way,” said Paul Smith, another lawyer who represents people who are challenging the Defense of Marriage Act.

“Supporters of gay rights and some academics also note that more than 30 states have passed laws prohibiting same-sex marriage, which they say shows that gays and lesbians still need special protection from the courts.”

Supreme Court will reportedly be making a decision by November 20th whether to take up the Prop 8 and DOMA challenges. Legal experts agree the court will address at least one of the cases concerning DOMA.