The U.S. Supreme Court took no action concerning the Defense of Marriage Act and the Proposition 8 challenge in releasing its docket of cases on Oct. 1.
The Court will release the list of cases that it will not consider on Oct. 8 and if the challenges to DOMA or Prop. 8 are on that list, the lower court rulings will stand. Gay couples in California would be able to marry as soon as the lower courts sign off on the case.
If the cases are not on that list, it means the Supreme Court could be postponing a decision until after the presidential election. In that case, the court will announce its plans on Nov. 19. There is also a possibility that the Court will merge several high-profile cases to review en masse
A federal appeals court ruled that Prop. 8 violated the U.S. Constitution and singled out same-sex couples for unequal treatment. Gay marriage is currently on hold in California.
DOMA is a federal law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. When the law was passed in 1996, no state had legalized gay marriage. Now six states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex nuptials and gay couples are challenging the law as discriminatory and unconstitutional. The law bans the federal government from recognizing gay marriages which means married gay couples don’t have access to social security or spousal medical benefits, amongst other tax benefits.