Supreme Court hears arguments on same-sex marriage

Supreme Court hears arguments on same-sex marriage

The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments [day call, PDF] Tuesday on same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder]. The court heard two-and-half hours of oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges [SCOTUSblog materials], which was consolidated with three other cases. The first question [argument audio; transcript, PDF] before the court was “Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?” The second question [argument audio; transcript, PDF] was “Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?” Questions from the justices touched on topics ranging from the historic definition of marriage to equal protection. It is unclear how the justices will rule, but many legal experts predict that the court will split along liberal and conservative lines with Justice Anthony Kennedy as the swing vote. A ruling is expected by the end of June.

Earlier this month a group of 15 US states, led by Louisiana, urged [amicus brief, PDF] the Supreme Court to uphold same-sex marriage bans [JURIST report]. The brief asserted that voters should decide for themselves whether to allow same-sex marriages in their respective states. The Supreme Court agreed [JURIST report] in January to rule on same-sex marriage. The court consolidated appeals from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee after the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld bans [JURIST report] in those states.