Marriage equality got the first of its two biggest tests today when the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the California amendment Proposition 8. At the center of the case is whether same-sex marriage is a constitutional right. After both sides have made their presentations, the court will release an audio of the arguments on its website as well as written transcripts.
Charles Cooper, the lawyer for proponents of Proposition 8, argued that marriage exists because of and is intrinsically linked to procreation and child rearing.
The Los Angeles Times reported that his line of argument drew criticism from Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. When Kagan asked if states could prohibit couples over the age of 55 from getting married, Cooper said at least one person in the marriage would likely still be fertile, drawing laughter from the courtroom.
Ted Olson, the attorney representing the other side, argued that banning same-sex marriage essentially labels a "sacred relationship" as "not OK," according to The New York Times.
Donald Verrilli Jr., President Obama's solicitor general, also weighed in.
It is not yet clear how the court will rule, but there are a number of ways it might go. It could decide that same-sex marriage is constitutionally protected nationwide; that states that recognize same-sex civil unions cannot ban same-sex marriage; make a decision that applies only to California; or dismiss the case.
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