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US Supreme Court to discuss gay marriage

Justices to consider whether to hear California's Proposition 8 and Defense of Marriage Act cases

The United States Supreme Court on Friday (30 November) will consider reviewing cases involving California's Proposition 8 as well the Defense of Marriage Act.

The high court is expected to release a list with its decisions on cases it has granted or denied review from the 30 November conference on 3 December.

If the Court denies review of the Proposition 8 case, same-sex marriage would immediately become legal again in California. That's because the February 2012 decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that struck down Proposition 8 will be made permanent and end four years of marriage inequality in California.

If the court does grant review, the justices will go on to consider whether Proposition 8 violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. A request for Supreme Court review is only granted upon an affirmative vote of four justices.

As for DOMA, federal appeals courts in New York and Boston have ruled that the law is unconstitutional - rulings appealed to the Supreme Court by the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives. The Republican leadership of the US House of Representatives have spent nearly $1.5 million defending DOMA since President Barack Obama instructed the Justice Department last year to no longer defend the constitutionality of DOMA.

DOMA prevents the US government from recognizing same-sex marriages even in states where such marriages are legal so couples cannot file joint federal tax returns or receive survivor benefits if one spouse dies.

DOMA was passed by both houses of Congress by wide margins in 1996 and signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton.

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