Tue March 26, 2013
Supreme Court Hearings on Gay Marriage
A pair of same-sex marriage cases are being heard for the first time before the U.S. Supreme Court this week.
One of the arguments in review is the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. Under that law, states are not required to recognize gay marriages made in other states. And gay and lesbian spouses, who are validly married, are banned from collecting federal retirement which means couple's have to file separately on their federal tax forms, but can file jointly for their state income taxes.
Bryan Hetherington, of the Empire Justice Center, says the Justices will determine what legal standards the court should use in determining the eligibility of spouses.
"Whether or not states have the right to set their own rules about marriage that would have to be followed in the federal system or if federal law is going to control or whether we're going to have some combination of the two."
Hetherington also adds proponents of marriage equality have argued gay individuals are historically discriminated against and are requesting additional measures.
"The heightened scrutiny rule [under DOMA] should be applied, which would mean the legislative judgment should have a substantial reason [other than their sexual orientation for not receiving benefits] not simply ... any kind of reasons being able to justify the discrimination that alleged in the case."
If DOMA is upheld, Hetherington says it would unlikely make another appearance in Supreme Court.
Superme Court Justices are expected to make a ruling sometime in June.