The next two days are destined to stand among the most significant days in our nation’s constitutional history, but the issues at stake reach far beyond the U.S. Constitution. Nothing less than marriage is in the dock, with the nation’s highest court set to consider two cases that deal with the question of the legalization of same-sex marriage.
The first time the issue of same-sex marriage came before the Court, back in 1972, the Court dismissed the question succinctly: “The appeal is dismissed for want of a substantial federal question.”
But now the Supreme Court is faced with two cases that demand a more substantial response. One case deals with a challenge to the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and the other addresses Proposition 8, the amendment to the California constitution defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.