After two days of testimony last week on two separate issues of gay rights -- or as we should think of them as human rights -- there's now a waiting game as to how the court will rule on a state matter concerning Proposition 8 in California that banned same-sex marriage and a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
I think there will be a partial victory in California and a win in the Defense of Marriage Act called DOMA.
Passage of Prop 8 came after same-sex marriage was allowed in California which gives hope the high court will strike it down because of its impact on those already married or just make no ruling at all -- which would let stand an appeals court ruling that overturned the ban.
The problem with that is it would only pertain to California and not to the 40 other states which do not allow same-sex unions.
It's anybody's guess as to what the justices will do with Prop 8, as even some liberal justices on the court wondered if the law was moving too fast on the issue of same-sex marriage.
The less likely to survive is DOMA. The act defines marriage as being between a man and a woman and bars the many federal benefits of marriage from those in a same-sex union.
The plaintiff in the case against DOMA is Edith "Edie" Windsor, who was forced to pay a huge estate tax when her partner, Thea Spyder, died four years ago. The couple, inseparable since the 1960s, had been married in Canada when Thea's health precluded them from waiting around for their state to approve same-sex marriage. If you want to see why DOMA is unfair to a warm, loving and long-term couple, rent "Edie and Thea: A Very Long Engagement."
While New York now allows same-sex marriage, Edie still wouldn't be able to get a federal tax break on the estate taxes under DOMA.
That's just wrong on many levels and hopefully the court will see that.
It appears that Justice Anthony Kennedy is leaning toward scrapping DOMA, playing the role he often plays between the right and left halves of the court -- the swing vote.
There has been a wholesale shift in the way Americans view the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered among us.
As more and more people get to know LGBT people, tolerance goes up and discrimination goes down. And if you start to think about the rights you enjoy, keeping those rights from people you know becomes a harder situation to live with.
While the Supreme Court may find the move to equality as coming too quickly, society will not stop moving in that direction.
Thus the court will probably not go as far as a ruling on Prop 8 that will force states to allow same-sex marriage but they will be OK with squashing DOMA allowing same-sex couple to get the same benefits and have the same rights as everyone else who is married.
Leave the wolves be
You'd think after decades of laws protecting wolves you wouldn't have to get a referendum on the ballot to keep hunters from once again shooting them but that's what's happening after the Legislature allowed hunting of the canines.
Of course the law was pushed by Tom Casperson of Escanaba, who figures anything the hunting lobby and extractive industries want is A-OK for the state. The man's a walking environmental disaster.
But it seems about a quarter-million voters were willing to put their names on a petition to give all of us the right to overturn the hunting plan for wolves.
If approved, the hunt is suspended and the issue will go on a ballot in 2014. Until then, the wolves are safe.
Kendall P. Stanley is retired editor of the Petoskey News-Review. He can be contacted at email@example.com.