The announcement that the U.S. Supreme Court will explore gay marriage on two fronts signals the justices’ intention to decide “the most contentious civil rights issue of our day,” Professor David S. Cohen said, in stories appearing in several news outlets on Dec. 7.
The court announced on Dec. 7 that it will explore both the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law that defines marriage as the legal union of a man and a woman, and Proposition 8, an amendment to the California constitution adopted by voters that only marriages of a man and woman could be recognized.
“By taking both cases, the court is boldly asserting its role in same-sex marriage,” Cohen said, in articles that appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, the Detroit Free Press and other outlets.
Noting that the justices could either agree with prior courts that have ruled to expand civil rights or those that contracted them, Cohen told the Christian Science Monitor and the San Francisco Chronicle that shifting public opinion in support of gay rights and same-sex marriage will likely tip the high court toward a broader conception of marriage.
An expert on constitutional law and gender issues, Cohen’s recent scholarship has appeared in the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, the George Washington Law Review and the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law.