Supreme Court delays cases again

The U.S. Supreme Court indicated Tuesday that it was bumping back by 10 days the date it has scheduled for its conference on 10 cases regarding same-sex marriage.

The court had originally set the conference date at September 24 but postponed all the marriage cases until November 20. On Tuesday, November 13, the court’s website indicated the date had been postponed again, this time to Friday, November 30.

The court, as is routine, made no comment as to why it was making the change and no gay legal activists ventured a guess as to why. But veteran Supreme Court reporter Lyle Denniston observed, “one possible explanation is that the choice of which [cases] to review and what issues to consider is a complex one that may require added time for consideration.”

When the court finally meets to discuss the cases, the justices will be considering one appeal that seeks to preserve California’s same-sex marriage ban, Proposition 8; one case seeks to preserve an Arizona law that bans equal benefits to state employees who have same-sex partners. And eight petitions and cross-petitions asking the court to review lower court decisions that struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Section 3 prohibits the federal government from recognizing, for the purpose of federal benefits, the marriages of same-sex couples even in states that license them.

Three of the DOMA petitions are from the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, four are from the Second Circuit, and one is from the Ninth Circuit.

If the court does discuss the marriage cases in conference November 30, it will likely announce on Monday, December 3, which, if any, of the appeals it will take up for review.

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