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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid