The Supreme Court justices are considering arguments on California’s Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage, and the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal spousal benefits to same-sex couples. The justices could rule narrowly or extend marriage rights nationwide.
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Justice Ginsburg asks Attorney Paul Clement “What kind of marriage is this?” regarding a lack of benefits for same-sex couples.
Justice Kennedy responds to Attorney Paul Clement’s assertion of DOMA’s simplicity, noting that the legislation would impact “over 1100 federal laws.”
Justice Breyer posed several hypotheticals to Attorney Paul Clement, asking whether every imaginable case would benefit from uniform law.
Justice Ginsburg contended that DOMA would impact almost every area of life and create two different classes, full marriage and “skim milk marriage.”
Attorney Paul Clement says the law was designed to prevent one state’s recognition of same-sex marriage from becoming de facto national recognition.
Attorney Roberta Kaplan argued that DOMA is impinging upon the rights of individuals and states by treating legally married couples as unmarried through denial of benefits and status.
Justice John Roberts engages Attorney Roberta Kaplan on the possibility of a politically motivated public opinion shift.
Attorney Donald Verrilli responds to Justice Roberts query about congressional animus, saying that hatred might not have motivated DOMA’s passage, but it’s restrictions are discriminatory.