On April 28, 2015, the Supreme Court began hearing arguments on combined same-sex marriage cases brought before the court.
According to USA Today and various media outlets, the Supreme Court is fairly divided between conservative and liberal justices, with Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy (conservative) as the most likely swing vote among the justices. Predictions are that the ruling, whichever way it goes, will be a 5-4 ruling.
Some of the arguments being posed include:
- “…if Sue loves Joe and Tom loves Joe, Sue can marry him and Tom can’t. And the difference is based upon their different sex. Why isn’t that a straightforward question of sexual discrimination?” (Chief Justice John Roberts)
- “The word that keeps coming back to me in this case is ‘millennia. This definition has been with us for millennia. It’s very difficult for the court to say, ‘Oh, well, we know better.'” (Justice Anthony Kennedy)
- “You’re not seeking to join the institution, you’re seeking to change what the institution is.” (Chief Justice Roberts)
- Arguing on behalf of same-sex couples married elsewhere but living in a state that bans same-sex marriage, Douglas Hallward-Driemeier stated, “If you choose to get married in your state, just don’t move to ours. That’s the cost of federalism.”
- Joseph Whalen, Tennessee’s Associate Solicitor General, said his state and others that “have done nothing here but stand pat” should not have to abide by other states’ marriage laws.
- In debating how the ruling would lead to other socio-legislative ramifications, the liberal justices debated against the argument that allowing same-sex marriage would harm the relationships of opposite-sex couples and lead to more out-of-wedlock children. They argued that many same-sex couples want to adopt.
- Justice Elena Kagan questioned the constitutionality of states limiting marriage to couples that vowed to have children.
- Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked whether states could exclude 70-year-old individuals from marriage because they would have no children.
While the case is bringing to the forefront many thought provoking issues, the outcome still remains to be seen.
If you have concerns about or need legal assistance with GLBT marital/divorce issues, our attorneys at C.E. Borman & Associates are glad to work with you and help you resolve your issues.