Supreme Court May Issue Narrow Ruling On California's Same-Sex Marriage Ban
Today, the Supreme Court heard the first of two gay marriage cases to come before the court, this week.
Several of the justices indicated they might lean toward
issuing a narrow ruling on gay marriage during a landmark hearing
Tuesday on California's same-sex marriage ban, even as lawyers for the
plaintiffs argued for legalizing the unions nationally.
A narrow ruling would not necessarily ripple through the rest of the states, but in a broad ruling, the court could overturn every state constitutional
provision and law banning same-sex marriages.
Several justices, including some liberals on the court raised doubts that the case is properly before them.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, the potentially decisive vote on a closely
divided court, suggested that the court could dismiss the case with no
ruling at all.
Chief Justice John Roberts told
Olson that it seemed supporters of gay marriage were trying to change
the meaning of the word "marriage" by including same-sex couples.
Anthony Kennedy suggested that throwing out California's ban could take
the Supreme Court into "uncharted waters." But Olson responded that the
court did just that when it threw out bans on interracial marriage.
John Roberts compared changing the definition of marriage to forcing a child to call someone who's not a friend, a friend.
Tommy Christopher called that " a particularly brain-dead comparison" because "the law ought to allow the child to call his friend a “friend,” and the
government ought to recognize that friendship, just as surely as it
ought not dissolve anyone else’s friendship."