Same-Sex Issue Pushes Justices into Overdrive

CIVIL RIGHTS - Life moves fast these days, and so does the law. 
In the civil rights era, the Supreme Court waited decades to weigh in on interracial marriage. On Friday, by contrast, the court did not hesitate to jump into the middle of one of the most important social controversies of the day, agreeing to hear two cases on same-sex marriage. 
By taking both, the court gave itself the chance to issue a sweeping ruling that would cast aside bans on same-sex marriage nationwide. But the speed with which the court moved also raised the possibility of a split decision, one that would provide federal benefits to same-sex couples married in states that allow such unions but would permit other states to forbid gay and lesbian couples from marrying. 
Gay rights advocates said they were optimistic that the time had come for marriage equality across the nation. 
“We are at a major turning point in the arc of gay and lesbian rights,” said Suzanne B. Goldberg, a law professor at Columbia. “The cases are moving fast, and the country is as well.” 
There has indeed been a rapid shift in public opinion, with a majority of Americans now saying they support same-sex marriage. With last month’s elections, nine states and the District of Columbia now allow such unions. 
Still, the Supreme Court’s move came just eight years after Massachusetts became the first state to permit gay and lesbian couples to marry and just four years after voters in California rejected a ruling of their Supreme Court allowing same-sex marriages there.  (Read the rest … including the possibility of a split court decision … here)  
“Split Decision on Gay Marriage"? - Kent Greenfield, American Prospect  
“Why the Supreme Court Will Affirm Same-Sex Marriage"- Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive  
Vol 10 Issue 99
Pub: Dec 11, 2012