The Same-Sex Marriage Cases: An in Depth Look at the Legal Issues

Monday, March 25, 2013

On March 26 and 27, the U.S. Supreme Court heard two separate cases on same-sex marriage.  The central claim in both cases is that plaintiffs were denied Equal Protection of the law.  In one case (Hollingsworth v. Perry), it is the law excluding same-sex couples from marrying in California - Prop 8 - and in the other (U.S. v. Windsor), it is the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that treats same-sex marriages that are valid under state law from being recognized under any federal law.

The day before these cases were heard, George Washington University Law School presented a panel discussion on each case. The program featured two Washington lawyers who have been active in both the same-sex marriage debate and litigation, Paul Smith and Edward Whelan.

Watch event video


Alan Morrison, Lerner Family Associate Dean for Public Interest & Public Service Law, George Washington University Law School


Paul Smith, Jenner & Block

Paul Smith has been co-counsel in a companion DOMA case and was also the lead consel in Lawrence v. Texas, the decision that held sodomy statutes unconstitutional.

Edward Whelan, President, Ethics and Public Policy Center

Edward Whelan holds the position that the issue of same-sex marriage in both contexts should be left to the democratic processes. He is a former law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and served in the Justice Department during the presidency of George W. Bush.


Hollingsworth v. Perry

US v. Windsor



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