News / USA

Supreme Court Hears Landmark Gay Marriage Case

People make their way into the Supreme Court in Washington, March 26, 2013, for the hearing on California’s voter approved ban on same-sex marriage.
People make their way into the Supreme Court in Washington, March 26, 2013, for the hearing on California’s voter approved ban on same-sex marriage.
Michael Bowman
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard the first of two landmark cases on same-sex marriage. Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the court Tuesday as justices heard arguments on the constitutionality of a California state law barring gay people from marrying.

Excitement and anticipation could be seen in the faces of John Lewis and Stuart Gaffney, partners of 25 years.

“We would not want to be anywhere else right now," said Gaffney. "This is history in the making.”

The San Francisco couple wed during a brief period when California allowed same-sex marriage. That was before the passage of a 2008 ballot initiative, known as Proposition 8, that restricted marriage to heterosexuals in the state. Prop 8’s constitutionality has been contested for the last four years.  Tuesday, the case was aired before the Supreme Court.

Attorney Ted Olson argued on behalf of California gay couples that want to marry.  He spoke with reporters afterwards.

“The broadest argument we made is that it is just wrong, it is not consistent with the ideals, the laws, and the constitution of this country, to take our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters and put them in a class and deny them rights that we give to everyone else," said Olson.

Attorney Charles Cooper argued in favor of retaining Prop 8.

“We believe that Proposition 8 is constitutional, and that the place for the decision to be made regarding redefining marriage is with the people, not with the courts," said Cooper.

A demonstrator holds a bible while marching outside the Supreme Court in Washington, March 26, 2013.
A demonstrator holds a bible while marching outside the Supreme Court in Washington, March 26, 2013.


In considering Prop 8, the Supreme Court could affirm the right of individual states to ban same-sex marriage.  It could also strike down the law only in California or it could strike down all such laws in every state, opening the door to gay marriage nationwide.  The court could also sidestep constitutional issues entirely by finding Prop 8 supporters have no legal standing to defend the law.

Such an outcome would leave intact a lower court ruling that struck down the ballot initiative. Gay Californians would be able to marry.  But bans in other states would be left untouched, and questions about marriage rights for gay people would be unresolved.

John Lewis and Stuart Gaffney want a sweeping ruling that settles the issue once and for all.

“We are Americans," said Lewis. "And we are here on the steps of the United States Supreme Court, because every single American, without exception, should have the freedom to marry the person that they love.”

Opponents of same-sex marriage were also present outside the court.  Tammy Fuentes came to Washington with a Rhode Island church group.

“We believe that marriage is between a man and a woman," said Fuentes. "We do not want to redefine marriage.  God created a man and a woman to reproduce.  We all know men cannot have kids [by themselves], and two women cannot reproduce, either.”

Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on the constitutionality of a law that bars the U.S. government from recognizing same-sex unions.  Decisions are expected in June.  

Related video footage from outside the Supreme Court
Supreme Court to Hear Major Gay Marriage Casesi
X
March 26, 2013 12:51 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments this week in two cases that could decide whether same sex marriage will be the law of the land.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' at 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
March 27, 2013 3:12 AM
What is the meanings of marrage? I suppose it is a social engagement between the beloved people in order to help them not only love each other but in most cases raise children by offering many social advantages. Most of spousal rights including inheritance rights seem to be offered from these viewpoints. So I am afraid same sex marrage basically should be excluded from deserving these social advantages.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid