Tehnically, US Supreme Court would be ruling merely on whether California's Proposition 8 (marriage is only recognized between men and women) is constitutional.

Many other states have laws etc... which deal with same sex marriage. The full breakdown is here:


Is there any legal analysis which indicates how a possible "nay" ruling from SCOTUS would affect specific laws in the other states?

(intuitively, it would seem all of them would be voided, but the devil in law is frequently in silly technicalities).

  • vtc. This is clearly asking the answer to predict the future. SCOTUS could hand down a ruling that declared all such laws unconstitutional under Title VII. It could make a narrower ruling that only effects CA, because some same sex partners got marriage licenses before Prop 8. Wouldn't it make much more sense to just wait?
    – user1873
    Commented Mar 5, 2013 at 6:18
  • @user1873 - an answer could very well cover both those options. There aren't all THAT many avenues for the court to rule, are there? The essence of the question is basically how similar Prop8 is to other such laws.
    – user4012
    Commented Mar 5, 2013 at 12:43
  • The full faith and credit clause is going to be key to any such analysis. Commented Mar 5, 2013 at 14:50

2 Answers 2


Regardless of the outcome of the ruling it will have an effect on other states. The underlying issue in regards to the case of Prop. 8 is not whether same-sex marriage is legal or not. Prop. 8, of course, was passed as a ballot proposition to amend the California constitution. The Supreme Court will be deciding whether or not the proposition is constitutional AND if "the people" can use ballot initiatives to restrict the constitutional rights of others. This would give affected parties in any state the ability to challenge a ballot initiative or amendment that infringes upon or restricts constitutional rights.

Like DVK wrote, it also depends on how the court rules in that it could affect only parts of the case and not others. Depending on the issue(s) at hand a court can rule in favor or against many parts of the case. The ruling in the spring of 2012 with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a great example of this (though this was challenging an act of Congress rather than a ballot proposition).


It depends on the ruling that the SCOTUS passes.

The SCOTUS ruling will apply to the laws of all States, but whether or not those states laws will be compatible with that ruling is hard to say at this point.

For instance, if the SCOTUS says that Prop 8 is Unconstitutional because it says who you are able to marry(male or female) is determined by your gender, than that could make same sex marriage legal across the US.

If it says that it is Unconstitutional because it gives some benefits to heterosexual couples, and withholds them from other couples, than some states might be able to get by with current laws if they just afford equal benefits to all couples.

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