Controversy in the Courtroom

By Sarah Rovinsky
The Supreme Court appeared dis-jointed over one of the most controversial topics of the modern world on Tuesday, April 27. Discussing whether the Constitution allows same-sex couples the right to marry, questions from the justices were either conservative or liberal. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy is obviously conflicted over the topic, yet holds the controlling vote. However, he appeared more emotional and sympathetic towards allowing same sex marriage. “Justice Kennedy said he was concerned about changing a conception of marriage that has persisted for so many years,” in an article from The New York Times. Later, though, he expressed qualms about excluding gay families from what he called a noble and sacred institution.

The justices bickered over the “right” answer and how to reach it including history, tradition, biology, constitutional interpretation, the democratic process and the role of the courts in prodding social change. Justice Antonin Scalia argued that a ruling for same-sex marriage might require some members of the clergy to perform ceremonies that violate their religious teaching. However, Justice Stephen G. Breyer described marriage as a fundamental liberty.

The discussion lasted two and a half hours but ended with those in favor of gay rights optimistic. The court has been cautious and halting in addressing same-sex marriage, signaling that it did not want to outpace public support and developments in the states, until recently. Now it is said that a definitive decision will probably be handed down in about two months.

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