The U.S. Supreme Court may decide whether to jump into the legal battle over gay marriage by the end of November.
The justices on Monday listed the various legal challenges to same-sex marriage laws for their Nov. 20 closed-door conference, where the high court typically determines which cases it will accept for review. The cases on that conference include the legal challenge to Proposition 8, California's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.
Although the Supreme Court could postpone that decision for a later conference, as it did in September, the justices otherwise would release orders as soon as Nov. 26 revealing whether they will take on Proposition 8, as well as a series of challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act. If the court accepts the cases, the justices would hear arguments in the spring and decide the issue by the end of the term in June.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this year struck down Proposition 8, finding it violated the rights of same-sex couples because it stripped away a previous right in California for them to marry. Proposition 8 backers have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case, while lawyers for the couples have urged the justices to simply let the appeals court decision stand.
The Supreme Court is also weighing a number of court decisions declaring federal gay marriage restrictions unconstitutional, including a recent ruling by a federal appeals court in New York.
Howard Mintz covers legal affairs. Contact him at 408-286-0236 or follow him at Twitter.com/hmintz