In Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Decision, Public Opinion Is No Guarantee

Opinion polling now favors same-sex marriage, but the Supreme Court has flouted public opinion in major decisions in the past.

More Americans now favor marriage eqaulity than oppose it — recent polls have found from 49% to a full 58% in favor. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the Supreme Court will rule in favor of gay marriage when it considers challenges to California’s Prop 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act this week — in several major decisions concerning civil rights and liberties in the last half-century, the Court has run counter to public opinion.

In the cases of Loving v. Virginia, which struck down state laws banning interracial marriage; Abington School District v. Schempp, which declared Bible reading in public schools unconstitutional; and Texas v. Johnson, which found flag-burning to be constitutionally protected, large majorities of Americans at the time disagreed with the Supreme Court’s decision. On interracial marriage, public opinion is now aligned with the Court’s decision — on flag-burning and prayer in schools, it’s not, though it may be moving in that direction.

Some court-watchers think the recent polling on gay marriage will make the Court more comfortable ruling in favor of it; but if they chose to go against the polls, it wouldn’t be the first time.

Check out more articles on BuzzFeed.com!

 
  Your Reaction?
  REACT WITH GIF
 

    Contributions

    Here Are The Top Stories
    • Migrant deaths in the Mediterranean have exceeded 2,000, making 2015 the deadliest year for people trying to reach Europe, according to the International Organization for Migration.
    • At least 24 homes have been lost and one firefighter killed as dozens of wildfires continue to ravage drought-stricken California.
    • Three major U.S. airlines — Delta, American, and United — have banned the transport of big game trophies after the illegal killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe.
    Get The News App

    Now Buzzing