[QODLink]
Americas

US Supreme Court ends gay marriage arguments

Court wraps up hearings on two laws that could redefine marriage in dozens of states that forbid same-sex couples to wed

Last Modified: 28 Mar 2013 06:43
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

The Supreme Court concluded two days of intense debate on gay marriage after suggesting it could strike down the law that prevents legally married gay couples from receiving a range of federal benefits that go to married people.

The court wrapped up its arguments Wednesday over the federal Defense of Marriage Act that bans recognition of same-sex marriages in the US, affecting several benefits available to married couples, including survivor benefits and tax breaks.

Justice Samuel Alito appeared to advocate a cautious approach to the issue on Tuesday, describing gay marriage as newer than such rapidly changing technological advances as cellphones and the Internet.

"You want us to assess the effect of same-sex marriage,'' Alito said. "It may turn out to be a good thing. It may turn out to be not a good thing."

 

US Supreme Court hears same-sex marriage cases

Justice Anthony Kennedy, the potentially decisive vote on a closely divided court, suggested that the court could dismiss the case with no ruling at all.

Kennedy said he feared the court would go into "uncharted waters" if it embraced arguments advanced by gay marriage supporters.

But lawyer Theodore Olson, representing two same-sex couples, said that the court similarly ventured into the unknown in 1967 when it struck down bans on interracial marriage in 16 states.

There was no majority apparent for any particular outcome and many doubts expressed about the arguments advanced by lawyers for the opponents of gay marriage in California, by the supporters and by the Obama administration, which is in favor of same-sex marriage rights.

On Wednesday, the court will hear the first challenge it has accepted to the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Recent polls suggest a rapidly growing number of Americans support allowing same-sex couples to marry, but there is no guarantee the conservative-leaning court rule in a similar direction.

Same-sex marriage is legal in nine states and in the District of Columbia but banned or limited in 41 others.

Rulings are unlikely before late June.

372

Source:
Al Jazeera And Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
'I'm dying anyway, one piece at a time' said Steve Fobister, who suffers from disabilities caused by mercury poisoning.
The world's newest professional sport comes from an unlikely source: video games.
The group's takeover of farms in Qaraqosh, 30km from Mosul, has caused fear among residents, and a jump in food prices.
Protests and online activism in recent months have brought a resurgence of ethnic Oromo nationalism in Ethiopia.
Chemotherapy is big business, but some US doctors say it could be overused and are pushing for cheaper and better care.
join our mailing list