A Zócalo/UCLA Williams Institute Event
The U.S. Supreme Court rulings on marriage rights for same-sex couples are being anticipated by some as a decisive culmination of a major civil rights struggle. But in key ways the decisions—on the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and on California’s Proposition 8—are more likely to represent a beginning than an end. No matter how they are decided, these cases could raise new practical questions for couples, create new legal duties for governments at both the state and federal levels, and establish new precedents that could apply to issues far beyond marriage. Figuring out the lay of the land may not be easy.
Even if the justices strike down DOMA, implementing the decision could be complicated and take time. There are numerous possible rulings on Proposition 8, some of which could mean additional steps before same-sex couples can marry again in California. UCLA Williams Institute legal director David Codell, San Francisco chief deputy city attorney Therese Stewart, and UCLA Williams Institute research director M.V. Lee Badgett visit Zocalo to explore the human impact of the court decisions, address misconceptions about the cases, and offer ways of understanding what comes next for the institution of marriage and for LGBT rights, in California and around the country.