(WASHINGTON) — The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments from both sides of the same sex marriage debate this week.
At issue are California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act. Both prohibit same sex marriage, but public opinion seems to increasingly be in favor of gay marriage.
The big question is whether the Court will rule such bans unconstitutional nationwide or if it will leave the issue up to individual states to decide. Opponents of same sex marriage are against the issue being resolved in such a top-down manner by the courts rather than through elections, but most experts seem to think that the Court likely won’t go that far in its ruling.
“They see the wave developing in support of gay marriage. We’ve seen that develop now majority support in the country. It’s moving very, very quickly,” said ABC Chief Political Correspondent George Stephanopoulos.
“They’re not gonna wanna risk looking anachronistic …What they’re likely to do is create the space for states to make their own decisions.”
California State Attorney General Kamila Harris believes that same sex marriage is about equality. “The majority of Americans believe it, the majority of Californians believe it, the majority of Catholics in this country believe it,” Harris said on CNN’s State of the Union.
Austin Nimocks of the Alliance Defending Freedom disagrees with Harris’s assessment.
“We’re talking about Californians going to the ballot box twice in a nine year period and voting to uphold marriage between one man and one woman,” he said on State of the Union. “That’s our most fundamental right in this country is the right to vote and the right to participate in the political process.
The proponents of same sex marriage note that protecting the rights of minorities has traditionally been done by the courts rather through elections.
Evan Wolfson, President of the advocacy organization Freedom to Marry compared the current marriage debate to another similar case in the 1960’s during an appearance on CBS’s Face the Nation.
“The Court ruled in favor of the freedom to marry and 70 percent of the American people at that time were against inter-racial marriage. Fortunately, in America we don’t put everything up to a vote.”
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