As the US Supreme Court hears oral arguments on California’s Proposition 8 case, it is worth noting the huge shift in opinion in Ohio on same-sex marriage in less than a decade. Ohio is a pretty socially conservative state. In 2004, this state easily passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage with 62% in favor of the ballot initiative.
But a new poll released yesterday says that now a 54-40% majority approves a measure to repeal that amendment and would “allow two consenting adults to marry, regardless of their gender.” A whopping 75% of those under age 35 approve of allowing same-sex marriages.
In general, I think that predicting how the Supreme Court will rule on cases is a waste of time. But of course I have a guess that is just as uninformed as anyone else’s and thought that I would share it. In the two cases being discussed today and tomorrow, I predict that by a 6-3 majority (with Scalia, Thomas, and Alito dissenting) the court will rule narrowly in ways that do not set back the cause of same-sex marriage. Either they will avoid ruling at all on technical grounds (such as standing or that the issue is not ‘ripe’ for adjudicating) or they will narrowly rule upholding the overturning of Proposition 8 in a way that reflects the special circumstances of California.
The best result to hope for would be a ruling in tomorrow’s case that DOMA is unconstitutional.
My prediction would be wrong if the courts rule that DOMA is constitutional and/or that the Appeals court ruling overturning Proposition 8 was wrongly decided and that Proposition 8 should stand. But even if they do that, it will not be long before Congress repeals DOMA and California repeals Proposition 8, so it will be a temporary setback.