US Supreme Court cautious on gay marriage

2013-03-27 08:13
A demonstrator holds a bible while marching outside the Supreme Court in Washington as the court heard arguments on California's voter approved ban on same-sex marriage, Proposition 8. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP)

A demonstrator holds a bible while marching outside the Supreme Court in Washington as the court heard arguments on California's voter approved ban on same-sex marriage, Proposition 8. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • The Amateur
    A gripping read that reveals never before published details about the Obama administration's... Now R321.00
    buy now
Washington - The US Supreme Court trod cautiously on Tuesday as it considered gay marriage, with justices appearing hesitant to deliver a sweeping historic verdict on the emotionally charged issue.

On a day long awaited by both sides of the debate, thousands of gay rights advocates waving US and rainbow flags descended on the Court, outnumbering a rally of religious activists opposed to same-sex marriage.

The Supreme Court will take months to issue a ruling, but several justices indicated during their 80-minute debate that they would be in no hurry to issue a verdict that could extend the right to same-sex marriage to the entire country.

Justice Anthony Kennedy voiced reluctance for the Court to step into "uncharted waters" on a case involving Californian law. His remarks are closely watched as he is often the swing vote on the nine-member bench.

Kennedy said there was a lack of sociological data to judge the effect of same-sex marriage. "We have five years of information to weigh against 2 000 years of history or more," he added.

But he also expressed sympathy for an estimated 40 000 children living in California with same-sex couples. "They want their parents to have full recognition and full status," he said.

Newer than cellphones

Both Kennedy and Justice Sonia Sotomayor wondered out loud whether the Supreme Court should have agreed to hear the case at all.

"The problem with this case is that you're really asking ... for us to go into uncharted waters," Kennedy told Theodore Olson, one of the lawyers arguing against the ban. Olson, a staunch conservative, served as US solicitor general 2001-2004 under president George W Bush.

Justice Samuel Alito, a conservative, also spoke of a "lack of data" on same-sex marriage since it was first legalised in The Netherlands in 2001.

"You want us to step in and render a decision based on an assessment of the effects of this institution which is newer than cellphones or the internet?" he said.

Liberal justices argued it was discriminatory to define marriage solely by whether a couple can bear children. Justice Elena Kagan said that by the same argument, the government could ban marriages of couples above age 55.

Nine US states and the capital Washington allow same-sex marriage.

Proposition 8

While some rights advocates hope the Supreme Court will guarantee gay marriage across the United States, its opponents want to leave the decision to state lawmakers.

The top court is hearing two cases.

The first concerns the constitutionality of California's "Proposition 8", the ballot initiative through which in 2008 voters ended right to same-sex marriage in the nation's most populous state.

Sandy Stier, one of plaintiffs, said the referendum had hurt her family by invalidating her marriage. She and her partner, Kris Perry, have four sons.

"I, like all Americans, believe in equality. I also believe in our judicial system and I have great faith in it. But more than anything, I believe in love," Stier said on the Supreme Court steps.

"It is our hope that we can move forward and remove this harm from society so that gays and lesbians in California can go back to their lives living equally alongside their neighbours with the same rights and protections."

Opinion polls

On Wednesday, the court will consider the Defence of Marriage Act, a federal law which defines marriage as an act between a man and woman.

Outside the Supreme Court protesters from both sides of the debate set out their positions.

One demonstrator dressed in pink and danced to music of Lady Gaga, the superstar singer and supporter of gay rights.

Among opponents, protesters pushed strollers and chanted: "Every child deserves a mom and dad."

"All people are capable of loving children, but all the love in the world can't turn a mother into a father or a father into a mother," said Cathy Ruse of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group.

Opinion polls have repeatedly indicated that most Americans now accept the principle of same-sex marriage, including an overwhelming majority of younger Americans.

President Barack Obama in May 2012 became the first US president to publicly back gay marriage.

White House spokesperson Jay Carney declined to predict how the Supreme Court would rule, but added that the treatment of gay and lesbians "goes to core principles about who we are as a country".

- SAPA
Read more on:    barack obama  |  us  |  gay rights
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
10 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Oscar Pistorius
 

6 life hacks you simply have to know

A few simple tricks can make your life so much easier!

 
 

For chic geeks...

Device lets disabled people talk through their nose
It’s THIS easy for someone to steal your ATM pin!
This is why you should install iOS 8
17 photo illusions that look so real

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may take extra pride in your work today. You have a need to shine and be respected so you may put the extra effort and TLC...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.