Three Favorites from Two+ Hours of Same-Sex Marriage Oral Arguments

The crowd outside the Court during the first same-sex marriage cases in 2013.

By Cara L. Gallagher, weekend contributor

Who has two thumbs, a lame but accommodating social life, and listened to 150 minutes of oral arguments about same-sex marriage this weekend? This girl.

By now, you’ve likely read or seen a lot of coverage recapping this term’s same-sex marriage cases bundled into Obergefell v. Hodges. Certainly if you have the time and inclination to listen to the oral arguments, do it. The link to both recordings – two separate recordings uploaded to the Court’s website because the traditional time of 60 minutes for oral arguments was extended since five cases were consolidated into one – is here. But if you’re a functioning human being with a life and no time to listen to oral arguments, here’s what I learned after listening to the oral arguments, a couple podcasts, and a few articles.

1. This is a constitutional case, not a statutory case. The two primary questions in the cases – whether gay couples can marry and whether states must recognize out-of-state marriage certificates of same-sex couples – are about the 14th Amendment’s equal protection and due process clauses. Many SCOTUS cases are about policies, or statutes, rather than straight constitutional cases. People often try to make statutory cases into constitutional issues when they’re not, like Hobby Lobby, which many perceived was a 1st Amendment right to religious practice case rather than a case about a statute passed by Congress called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

2. Just before Solicitor General Donald Verrilli started to defend the same-sex couples on behalf of the government, a man sitting in the general public seats shouted his admonishment of homosexuality. The audio makes it hard to hear specifics, but reporters inside the Court wrote the man stated, “The bible teaches us that, if you support gay marriage, then you can burn in hell” and that it’s an abomination. Marshals carried him out and later Justice Scalia replied, “That’s rather refreshing actually.” Whether Scalia found the message or the messenger of the outburst refreshing – since it wasn’t another Citizens United condemnation from frequent Supreme Court protestors 99Rise – was unclear. His commentary was well-received garnering laughs from the audience.

3. This case has significant political implications to the 2016 election. I can’t take credit for this observation because I didn’t consider the political fallout post-decision until I listened to a podcast about the case. No doubt, the candidates already have a response in the hopper for a post-opinion sound bite, late June. Rubio and Paul have already said they believe in traditional marriage between one man and one woman and that the states regulate marriage laws, not the Courts. Huckabee thinks marriage is up to a state, a man, a woman, and the couple’s faith.

If the Court decides there is no constitutionally protected right for same-sex couples to marry, upholding bans in 14 states, the Democratic candidates will blast the Court for violating the human rights of same-sex couples securing support they already have from gay voters. Republicans will consider this a win and quietly commend the Courts for showing deference to the states. On the other hand, if the Court rules in favor of not only same sex marriage but also universal recognition of marriage certificates in all 50 states, Hilary and Bernie celebrate and the issue becomes a political football for Republican candidates to run with as they clamor to the right.

A decision in the Obergefell case should be announced in late June.

The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

55 thoughts on “Three Favorites from Two+ Hours of Same-Sex Marriage Oral Arguments”

  1. Before gay marriage became an argument issue for gays to want to play house and make their lifestyle acceptable to all humankind, gays lived together as partners. Some people accepted them and others shunned them. Those attitudes will always be with us. However, the point was that no one complained, sued, or took the case to the SC to fight for gay marriage. Gays seemed happy to be with their partner and live their lifestyle without forcing everyone to accept their way of life.
    I had gay male friends who chose to live their thirty years in perfect harmony with their partner, without the thought of marriage. Marriage was not a factor in their relationship. These gay couples never wanted to poke holes into religious beliefs or antagonize God’s holy sacrament of matrimony.
    Now, we have gay organizations wanting what was always deemed between a man and a woman. It cannot and will never be right, even if the SC votes in favor of gay marriage. This is another social matter that is unacceptable to natural law.
    P.S. Jerry’s video on the Huaorani’s of the Amazon, drives the point home– those uncivilized people know more about natural law than our highly intellectuals who want to change our society to fit their twisted way of thinking.

  2. David

    I am not the one defining marriage in a restrictive manner to suit my specific beliefs. My position has always been open to include the interpretations of others. Personally I find it not to be a slippery slope but an expected collision of rights, the right to be accepted as anyone else and the right to differentiate. The Muslim bakery differentiates. That is the slippery slope in the direction of racism, backwards, as with the Christian bakery. It’s kind of like one right trumping another. Sometimes both cannot be in first place. You might visit the dictionary for the meaning of narcissism. Look up hypocritical while you are at it.

  3. David

    If you are afraid that gays getting married spells the death knell of what you regard as marriage, then that is really just you and I would reflect on the necessity of the government to establish for you what is and is not marriage. For me and my wife, other than taxes and other civil and legal issues, the government means nothing to us regarding our marriage. Neither does the church or anyone else. Our families are along for the ride. It is us who matter.

    I find your position convoluted.

    1. Again, issac, your perspective is extremely narcissistic. If I only cared about myself, then I would see the issue like you do. The question of gay marriage centers on what is the proper role of government and how they establish laws that are healthy for creating a prosperous society. When laws are created that are contrary to natural law, they lead to civil unrest because people are expected to think contrary to natural law. Following is another youtube to illustrate that your attempt to marginalize my concerns are misguided. There are millions of people who have my perspective. In the following video you will see an undercover video where muslims are approached to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple. What will happen to Muslim bakers who do not want to bake wedding cakes for a gay wedding? Won’t they be tagged as hateful and their lack of accommodation criminalized? Does that sound like religious freedom to you? We are on a slippery slope with this matter, but you refuse to acknowledge that.

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