US: Same-sex marriage debate heating up in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Yesterday, the three-seat US 7th Circuit Court of Appeals heard testimony for Indiana and Wisconsin same-sex marriage bans, and the judges look poised to hand down a federal victory for marriage equality.
After hundreds queued up outside the courthouse, Reagan appointee Richard Posner, Clinton appointee Ann Claire Williams, and Obama appointee Thomas Fischer vigorously interrogated Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fischer and Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Timothy Samuelson.
Indiana’s accidental births and “unintended children” claims were broken down. Posner said: “Don’t you think it would help these children, the products of these accidental births, if their parents – whether same-sex or different-sex – were married?” Fischer avoided the question. Posner demanded: “Answer my question.”
Fischer’s response to Posner’s demand: “You will have to be patient.”
The treatment of Wisconsin’s claims was no different.
In response to AAG Samuelson’s defense of his state’s ban that gays have always been excluded from marriage Posner laughingly said: “How can tradition be a reason for anything… the tradition of forbidding interracial marriage went back to colonial times. It was 200 years old by the time Loving came along… so in other words, tradition per se is not grounds for continuing.”
In response to Wisconsin’s claim that the state is promoting childbirth to married couples Hamilton joined the discussion. He said: “It’s a little hard to see, if that’s as important as you’re telling us it is as a policy goal of the state… What it is a reverse-engineered theory to explain marriage in such a way that you avoid the logic of Lawrence and ignore a good deal of history about the institution of marriage.”
Defenders of the marriage bans in the states were visibly upset by the proceedings, but those in favor of marriage equality were elated by the hearing. Plaintiffs in both Wisconsin and Indiana were moved by the concern and outrage expressed by the judges.
There is no update to how the court will rule, but it appears by the arguments yesterday that the judicial climate seems positive for same-sex marriage.
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