Supreme Court Justices Seem Divided Following Gay Marriage Arguments
This morning, Supreme Court justices heard oral arguments in a handful of cases challenging the Constitution’s right to deny marriage rights to same-sex couples. As The New York Times reports, the outcome isn’t necessarily as hopeful-sounding as some of us may have expected. Audio recordings of today’s arguments are slowly popping up on the Supreme Court website (hear part one here), but NYT offers a helpful rundown of how each justice was feeling at the end of the session:
The justices appeared to clash over not only what is the right answer but also over how to reach it. The questioning illuminated their conflicting views on history, tradition, biology, constitutional interpretation, the democratic process and the role of the courts in prodding social change.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said he was concerned about changing a conception of marriage that has persisted for millennia. Later, though, he expressed qualms about excluding gay families from what he called a noble and sacred institution. Chief Justice John C. Roberts Jr. worried about shutting down a fast-moving societal debate.
In the initial questioning, which lasted about 90 minutes, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. asked whether groups of four people must be allowed to marry, while Justice Antonin Scalia said a ruling for same-sex marriage might require some members of the clergy to perform the ceremonies, even if they violate their religious teaching.
Justice Stephen G. Breyer described marriage as a fundamental liberty. And Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan said that allowing same-sex marriage would do no harm to the marriages of opposite-sex couples.
A decision in the case is expected in Late-June. You can read more of The New York Time‘s commentary here.