The raucousness of this morning's overturning of DOMA died away quickly.
This morning, at just a touch past 10, the Supreme Court announced its long-awaited ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act, striking the law down in an uncharacteristically sweeping 5-4 ruling. In all the media analysis mumbo-jumbo since the case was argued back in February, the fundamentals of the case got all tangled up in conjecture and hypotheses about the court ruling this way or that.

See Also: Scenes of Jubilation at the Stonewall Inn as the Supreme Court Strikes Down DOMA

Well, no more need for guesswork: With the demise of DOMA, married gay couples in the states where it's legal (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Washington, Maine, Maryland, Rhode Island, Delaware, Minnesota, and D.C.) can now enjoy the over 1,000 federal rights and benefits attached to marriage. And here in New York, it means more than 10,000 couples living with skim-milk marriage can now get their cut of the fat.

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Supreme Court Hears Arguments Against California's Same-Sex Marriage Ban, Punts

At approximately 10:15 this morning, the U.S. Supreme Court started hearing arguments on Proposition 8, the 2008 California initiative that banned same-sex marriage in the state. It was the court's first major hearing of gay rights in 10 years, and will be followed by consideration of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) tomorrow -- the 1996 law that struck down federal recognition of same-sex marriage. The Prop. 8 argument was scheduled for one hour, and by 11:32 a.m., the arguments were already over. As SCOTUSblog announced on Twitter, "#scotus won't uphold or strike down #prop8 bc Kennedy thinks it is too soon to rule on #ssm. #prop8 will stay invalidated."

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AG Eric Schneiderman Thinks SCOTUS Should/Will Strike Down DOMA

Today, the Supreme Court will begin hearings on the cases pending constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California's Proposition 8. It is the first legal step in a process that will end in June, when the Nine are expected to release their opinion to the public--one that could have drastic effects on the rights of homosexuals across the country. On that day, all eyes will be on Washington.

It's obviously no surprise that the cases have gained serious attention from all over the place. The White House filed an amicus brief on behalf of same-sex marriage advocates; the ACLU and numerous other civil libertarian groups have inserted their opinion; even a whole set of Republicans have switched over to support the plight of those seeking matrimony in states that ban such an act.

Yesterday, the base of fanfare for a strike-down of DOMA grew right here in New York. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a main architect behind Gov. Cuomo's Marriage Equality Act and an amicus brief filer himself, appeared on The Brian Lehrer Show to give his crystal ball opinion on the case's fate.

One word: unconstitutional.

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California Supreme Court Grants Standing in Prop 8 Case to Opponents of Same-Sex Marriage

The California Supreme Court ruled today that opponents who sued to appeal U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker's 2010 ruling, which found Prop 8 to be unconstitutional, have "standing" to do so. Walker's ruling in the case Perry v. Schwarzenegger would have, effectively, allowed same-sex marriages to be legal once again in California. When the plaintiffs in the case (then California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and then Attorney General and current Governor Jerry Brown) declined to appeal the decision, others wanted to step in and appeal on behalf of all the Californians they thought would be harmed by the gays getting hitched. The federal court asked that the state supreme court weigh in on if they even had the right to do so.

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Prop 8 Backers Lose Key Fight

In a victory for gay rights, a California federal judge today rejected an attempt by Prop 8's backers to vacate Judge Vaughn Walker's previous ruling that overturned Prop 8, the Metro Weekly's Chris Geidner reports this afternoon.

Prop 8's supporters had argued that because Walker was himself gay and lived with a man, he could not rule impartially on the constitutionality of the anti-gay-marriage ballot initiative.

U.S. District Court Judge James Ware did not agree, writing that "the sole fact that a federal judge shares the same circumstances or personal characteristics with other members of the general public, and that the judge could be affected by the outcome of a proceeding in the same way that other members of the general public would be affected, is not a basis for either recusal or disqualification."

sthrasher@villagevoice.com / @steven_thrasher

Prop. 8 Case's Closing Arguments Finally Scheduled

The long-awaited closing arguments in the long-delayed federal court case against California's anti-gay-marriage Proposition 8 have finally been scheduled for mid-June.

That'll be a relief to foes of Prop. 8, considering the setbacks inflicted on gay marriage in New York, New Jersey, and elsewhere.

Overturning Prop. 8 in federal court would help trump those setbacks, but don't get all giddy. The continued fighting over documents that has helped put the West Coast trial into a state of suspended animation may very well continue.

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