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7 a.m. PDT Wednesday: Suspense peaks over Prop. 8 ruling

June 25, 2013|By Karin Klein
  • A scene from 2008 as supporters and opponents of Proposition 8 square off.
A scene from 2008 as supporters and opponents of Proposition 8 square off. (Los Angeles Times )

What time are you waking up Wednesday? The rulings on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act will be announced at 10 a.m. Eastern time — 7 a.m. Pacific time — and I imagine many of my fellow Californians rolling out of bed before then, getting their personal electronic devices revved up for the day and then just … hunching over them, waiting. I'll make it 6 a.m., just to be on the safe side. Or maybe I just won't sleep at all.

It’s been four years and seven months since Proposition 8 passed — and some days, but who's obsessing? And when the federal case against it was first filed, I thought, “Are you kidding? This country, this set of Supreme Court justices, are not prepared at this point in time to do something so progressive on gay rights.”

Of course, the court system is slow and attitudes toward same-sex marriage changed even faster than expected. Now it seems quite plausible, but far from certain, that Proposition 8 will be struck down, though quite likely on less than the sweeping constitutional grounds that it should be.

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The possibilities are many. The court could:

• Uphold Proposition 8, in which case it will head back to the ballot box soon and rend the state in two again;

•Decide that gay-marriage bans in general violate the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment and sweep them away as, many years ago, it did bans on interracial marriage;

•Strike Proposition 8 down, but only on the grounds that the people defending it have no legal standing in court. The case would then refer back to the original federal court ruling against the constitutional amendment, though there would be arguments and possibly legal challenges involving whether the ruling applies in all counties;

•Declare gay-marriage bans unconstitutional, but only in states that offer legal domestic partnerships for same-sex couples. That would affect seven states, including California;

•Declare gay marriage bans unconstitutional but only in states where it previously was legal. That would affect — just California.

Which of these possible outcomes are you hoping to see?

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