The petition by opponents of gay marriages has become a politically charged issue since President Barrack Obama stopped defending the DOMA and publicly supported gay marriage in May. Proposition 8 is a voter-approved state constitutional amendment in California which defines marriage as a union exclusively between a man and a woman. The new petition compels the issue on the Supreme Court before the November elections. If the Supreme Court decides to hear the matter in its next session, the case would be decided within next one year.
It is also open to the U.S. Supreme Court to refuse hearing the petition and in effect nullify the ban on Proposition 8 as the decisions of the lower courts would become law. However, in such a scenario, the fate of similar legislation in many states would remain murky if the Supreme Court does not pass a decision on merits. The way would still be left open for others to raise their challenges and seek a reasoned decision for or against state and legal recognition of same-sex union.
Currently, a majority of U.S. states has outlawed same-sex marriage, and California joined them in 2008 after voters passed Proposition 8 to override a Supreme Court decision that briefly legalized gay marriage. California’s condition remains peculiar, as the state Supreme Court has held that the 18,000 same-sex weddings officiated within the six months between the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage and the legislatures passing of Proposition 8, would remain valid. This of course also brings up other issues of unequal treatment by those aspiring for same-sex union in California, if the ban continues.
However, for now, until the U.S. Supreme Court, either rejects or decides on the issue, same-sex marriage would continue to be banned in California with 18,000 valid and fortunate legal same-sex marriages continuing to exist and be recognized in the state.