The highest court in the United States on Tuesday will hear arguments in one of the last major undecided civil rights struggles in American history — whether same-sex marriage is a constitutional right — but this particular landmark case for equality may already be open and shut. The US supreme court has a reputation for being contrarian and unpredictable. Its key swing votes are often shrouded in mystery until decisions arrive at the end of each term. Between the clever way the cases have been set up and the overwhelming pressure to answer to public demand, the end of state gay marriage bans is not just inevitable, court watchers say — the nine justices may be left with no other choice. In order to rule against the gay couples and their children bringing the challenge, a majority of the justices would have to conclude that marriage is not a fundamental right with respect to straight couples, according to University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone.
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An Overview of the Same-Sex Marriage Debate | Pew Research Center
About Follow Donate. Legal Backgrounder. As the California and Iowa rulings suggest, while the gay marriage controversy has many elements, including disagreements over religious and social norms, much of the debate is a legal one. Indeed, it was a Massachusetts high court decision legalizing same-sex marriage that elevated the issue onto the national stage, where it has remained ever since. Since , courts in a number of states have handed victories to both opponents and supporters of gay marriage.
Hodges, which made same-sex marriage legal across the United States. That same day, Sept. It added that when asked by Sen.