Here are the specific legal questions the U.S. Supreme Court is addressing in the Proposition 8 and federal Defense of Marriage Act cases:

Proposition 8

  • Question 1: Whether the Constitution's equal protection clause prohibits California from defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

  • Question 2: Whether supporters of Proposition 8 have legal standing to defend the law under Article III of the Constitution, which determines when the federal courts have authority to decide a legal case or controversy.

    Defense of Marriage Act

  • Question 1: Whether the Defense of Marriage Act's limit on federal benefits to a "legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife" violates the Constitution's equal protection clause when applied to same-sex couples who are legally married under the laws of their state.

  • Question 2: Whether the executive branch's agreement that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional deprives the Supreme Court of jurisdiction over the case, and whether House Republicans have Article III standing to defend the law.