Gay Marriage Argument Made In High Court On Tuesday; Ohioans React


UPDATED: Tuesday March 26, 2013 5:28 PM

Both inside and outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday, both sides of the gay marriage debate have been heard.
    
As justices considered California's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, supporters of those marriages were outside the court, carrying pictures of gay weddings and families, and holding signs that read, "Marriage is a constitutional right."
    
Opponents marched down a roadway in front of the court, with signs reading, "Every child deserves a mom and dad" and "vote for holy matrimony."

Back in Ohio, the debate sounds the same as the one occurring in Washington.

Morgan Bonney was one of over 800 supporters who rallied in Columbus Saturday in favor of marriage equality.

"We want the same rights as everybody else has.  We're not asking for special rights or anything," Bonney said.

Ruth Colker, a law professor from The Ohio State, said whatever the U.S. Supreme Court decides on California's Proposition 8, or the Defense of Marriage Act, it is unlikely to topple Ohio's constitutional amendment which defines a marriage between a man and a woman.

"I think the gay rights community wants a victory, but I think reasonable people disagree on the whether the broadest victory is always the best," said Colker.  "I don't think anybody likes the courts telling them what to do."

If the high court doesn't offer a sweeping decision, same sex marriage proponents in Ohio must gather over 385,000 valid signatures to put the issue on November's ballot.

Ohioans would then vote on whether to redefine marriage as "a union of two consenting adults, regardless of gender."

Chris Long from Ohio's Christian Alliance said that won't happen.

"I believe Ohioans, if given the opportunity, will again affirm traditional marriage," Long said.

Long acknowledges that polls have moved toward support for same sex marriage, especially among younger voters.

"I think that is indicative of what we've seen in the public schools in the last 20 years where there has been a propaganda supporting the homosexual lifestyle," said Long.   

With all eyes on the Supreme Court, Colker said there's a lot at stake for both sides in Ohio.

"If the court were to rule in favor of the gay community, I think it will be one of most important civil rights cases of the last 20 years," Colker said.

But the court could end up avoiding a major national ruling on whether America's gays have a right to marry.
    
During arguments, several justices raised doubts that the case should even be before them. And Justice Anthony Kennedy -- possibly the deciding vote in the case -- suggested that the court could dismiss it with no ruling at all. That would almost certainly allow gay marriages to resume in California, but it would have no impact elsewhere.
    
Kennedy said he was afraid the court would go into "uncharted waters" if it embraced arguments from gay marriage supporters.
    
But a lawyer representing two same-sex couples said the court had ventured into the unknown in 1967 when it struck down bans on interracial marriage.

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