Supreme Court to take up gay marriage question
The Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday about same sex marriage, with thousands of supporters and opponents gathered outside the court in Washington.
The case is an appeal of California's Proposition 8 that limits marriage to opposite sex couples. Thousands of people packed the Supreme Court for hours holding signs that read "equality" and chanting in favor of same sex marriage.
Kristen Perry and Sandy Stier are a same sex couple who call the law unconstitutional.
"It hurts the children we're raising for no good reason," argued Stier.
Some of the most emotional pleas today for the court to overturn Proposition 8 came from their son.
"We love them. We love our family and we look forward to the day when we will be treated equally just like our neighbors' families," said Spencer Perry, son of Stier and Perry.
Supporters of California's gay marriage ban argue the law protects the traditional notion of marriage and its intent to encourage procreation.
Andrew Pujno, the co-author of Proposition 8, said it was "impossible to know changes to society by redefining a fundamental institution like marriage."
But inside the court, Justices Kennedy and Kagan questioned whether anyone would be harmed by allowing same sex couples to marry. Justice Breyer also questioned why it would be constitutional to prevent just this group from marriage.
Chief Justice John Roberts had a different take, saying, "We don't have to include everybody."
Justice Scalia asked when defining marriage as between a man and woman "became unconstitutional."
Before the justices can even rule whether Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, they first have to decide whether supporters of the law who are defending it in court even have the standing to do so. Any decision is expected to be divided with Justice Kennedy likely being the swing vote.
A decision is expected in June.
There are several Indiana connections to the debate today. First, Attorney General Greg Zoeller has written briefs representing 20 states which support California and the right of states to ban gay marriage. Those briefs have been submitted for the justices to consider.
Second, lawmakers in Indiana postponed a proposal to ban gay marriage earlier this year and they are waiting for the high court's decision.
The court's decision is critical because right now, states can ban gay marriage if they choose. But the cases that have made their way to the Supreme Court say this type of ban is unconstitutional.
If the court rules same sex marriage is a constitutional right, states would not be allowed to ban gay marriage.
However, if the justices say it is not a right, Indiana lawmakers promise to push forward to ban gay marriage. This would be discussed in the 2014, in the next General Assembly, and then Indiana voters would decide by a referendum will be held a year from November.