The justices consider gay marriage
The Supreme Court justices heard arguments today in a landmark case that could determine the fate of marriage equality in the U.S. A victory for the plaintiffs — same-sex couples in four states — could legalize gay marriage across the country.
Since no cameras are allowed in the courtroom, we wanted to give you a visualization of some of the things the justices said. (Quotes are from today’s transcripts, but the images are from outside-of-court events.)
First, all this gay marriage stuff seemed to be moving a bit fast for Justice Anthony Kennedy, who may be the deciding vote in the case.
Chief Justice John Roberts, a conservative who occasionally sides with the liberals, defended the traditional definition of marriage.
Sassy Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg came out “zing”ing. She made sure the other justices knew that plenty had shifted over the past millennium.
Justice Samuel Alito won the award for Most Offensive Questions. It was hard to choose between his comments on polygamy or this…
Justice Antonin Scalia questioned the wisdom of imposing a constitutional requirement that he called “unpalatable to many of our citizens for religious reasons.”
He may be right in saying that not all views will change. BUT, Americans’ opinions on gay marriage have changed significantly over the past several years. In 2004, just 31 percent supported gay marriage. By 2014, support had grown to 52-62 percent.
The liberal justices didn’t hold back either. Here’s Justice Sonia Sotomayor:
Justice Elena Kagan, for her part, said SCOTUS previously held that marriage is a right.
Justice Stephen Breyer pointed out that making a decision based on the status quo isn’t a good idea. That kind of logic would have kept us locked in the Jim Crow South.
Then there’s Justice Clarence Thomas. He said nothing during arguments, but he almost never does.
A decision in the case is expected by the end of June.