Lawyers argued before the United States Supreme Court on Tuesday over the constitutionality of same-sex marriage.
Arguments were heard on California's Proposition 8, a voter-passed initiative that defines marriage in California as only between a man and a woman. A same-sex couple sued saying that law is unconstitutional.
The justices were very careful with their questioning and with their tone about a case like this. Justice Anthony Kennedy, considered to be the pivotal vote on the issue, said the court was in "uncharted waters" -- That this issue is newer than cell phones and the internet. Kennedy even questioned whether they should have accepted this case.
LISTEN TO ARGUMENT AUDIO: http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_audio_detail.aspx?argument=12-144
The lawyer supporting Prop 8 argued that procreation and responsible child rearing were rational reasons for government to limit marriage to heterosexual couples. He was challenged by Justice Elena Kagan, who said those reasons might be grounds for valuing marriage among heterosexual couples but were not a basis for excluding same-sex couples. She and others noted that the law allows older or sterile heterosexual couples to marry.
Justice Kennedy also suggested the court could dismiss the case with no ruling at all.
WHAT'S THE MINNESOTA IMPACT?
Minnesotans United statement:
"Minnesotans United will be closely following the Supreme Court hearings, but more importantly we will be working on the ground and continuing to urge grassroots marriage supporters across Minnesota to contact their elected officials. While the ruling of the Supreme Court is unlikely to have a direct impact on the legal status of same-sex couples and their families in Minnesota, our lawmakers have their own historic opportunity to secure the freedom to marry in the next eight weeks. Now is the time, this is the year."
Minnesota for Marriage statement:
"The Court's hearing of these marriage cases should give legislators in Minnesota pause. The Court's ruling on the Proposition 8 case, no matter the outcome, will have an impact here in Minnesota. It would be extremely imprudent for the legislature to force gay ‘marriage' on Minnesotans when the majority of Minnesotans want our marriage law left the way it is, and with the Supreme Court issuing a ruling on this issue in late May,"
DOMA ARGUMENTS WEDNESDAY
Arguments are also set for Wednesday challenging the Defense of Marriage Act -- a 1996 law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman for the purposes of federal law. DOMA, as it is commonly known, also allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
What if DOMA is found unconstitutional? Would same-sex marriage all of a sudden be legal in every state?