Court Could Avoid Ruling on Gay Marriage Ban - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Court Could Avoid Ruling on Gay Marriage Ban

Posted: Updated:
Marcus, left, and Daniel German-Dominguez stand outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, March 26, 2013, before the court's hearing on California’s voter approved ban on same-sex marriage. Marcus, left, and Daniel German-Dominguez stand outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, March 26, 2013, before the court's hearing on California’s voter approved ban on same-sex marriage.

WASHINGTON (AP)— The Supreme Court suggested Tuesday it could find a way out of the case over California's ban on same-sex marriage without issuing a major national ruling on whether gays have a right to marry, an issue one justice described as newer than cellphones and the Internet.

Several justices, including some liberals who seemed open to gay marriage, raised doubts during a riveting 80-minute argument that the case was properly before them. And 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.

Such an outcome would almost certainly allow gay marriages to resume in California but would have no impact elsewhere.

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.

Kennedy challenged the accuracy of that comment by noting that other countries had had interracial marriages for hundreds of years.

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.

Kennedy made clear he did not like the rationale of the federal appeals court that struck down Proposition 8, the California ban, even though it cited earlier opinions in favor of gay rights that Kennedy wrote.

That appeals court ruling applied only to California, where same-sex couples briefly had the right to marry before voters adopted a constitutional amendment in November 2008 that defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Several members of the court also were troubled by the Obama administration's main point that when states offer same-sex couples all the rights of marriage, as California and eight other states do, they also must allow marriage.

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

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

Charles Cooper, representing the people who helped get Proposition 8 on the ballot, ran into similar resistance over his argument that the court should uphold the ban as a valid expression of the people's will and let the vigorous political debate over gay marriage continue.

Here, Kennedy suggested that Cooper's argument did not take account of the estimated 40,000 children who have same-sex parents. "The voices of these children are important, don't you think?" Kennedy said.

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Sending Help to Va Tornado Victims

    Sending Help to Va Tornado Victims

    Friday, July 25 2014 1:46 PM EDT2014-07-25 17:46:03 GMT
    In response to Thursday's tragic storm that ripped through the Cherrystone Family Camping and RV Resort, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore is anticipating the continued help needed for those in the community.More
    In response to Thursday's tragic storm that ripped through the Cherrystone Family Camping and RV Resort, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore is anticipating the continued help needed for those in the community.
    More
  • Va. Gov.: Blessing More Didn't Die in Tornado

    Va. Gov.: Blessing More Didn't Die in Tornado

    Friday, July 25 2014 1:33 PM EDT2014-07-25 17:33:49 GMT
    Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe says it's a blessing more people didn't die when a tornado swept through a campground on the Eastern Shore that claimed two lives and injured 36 others.
    More
    Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe says it's a blessing more people didn't die when a tornado swept through a campground on the Eastern Shore that claimed two lives and injured 36 others.

    More
  • Dover Police: Man Arrested with 1,300 Bags of Heroin

    Dover Police: Man Arrested with 1,300 Bags of Heroin

    Friday, July 25 2014 1:02 PM EDT2014-07-25 17:02:39 GMT
    Dover police say officers arrested a Millsboro man after they found 1,300 bags of heroin in his possession Thursday night. More
    Dover police say officers arrested a Millsboro man after they found 1,300 bags of heroin in his possession Thursday night. More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Updated: Va. Gov. McAuliffe to Tour Tornado Damage

    Updated: Va. Gov. McAuliffe to Tour Tornado Damage

    Friday, July 25 2014 8:04 AM EDT2014-07-25 12:04:23 GMT
    Flattened trees, flipped-over RVs, scattered tents, and awnings ripped from trailers - a scene of devastation awaited the visit of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe the day after a tornado ripped through a campground on the Chesapeake Bay.More
    Flattened trees, flipped-over RVs, scattered tents, and awnings ripped from trailers - a scene of devastation awaited the visit of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe the day after a deadly tornado ripped through a campground on the Chesapeake Bay.More
  • Del. Court Upholds Death Sentence in Rape-Murder

    Del. Court Upholds Death Sentence in Rape-Murder

    Friday, July 25 2014 8:12 AM EDT2014-07-25 12:12:22 GMT
    Delaware's highest court has upheld the conviction and death sentence for a man found guilty of raping and killing a University of Delaware student.More
    Delaware's highest court has upheld the conviction and death sentence for a man found guilty of raping and killing a University of Delaware student.More
  • Appointed Delaware Tech President Rejects Offer

    Appointed Delaware Tech President Rejects Offer

    Friday, July 25 2014 7:34 AM EDT2014-07-25 11:34:30 GMT
    Wor-Wic Community College President Dr. Ray Hoy announced Thursday he will not become the fifth president of Delaware Technical Community College.More
    Wor-Wic Community College President Dr. Ray Hoy announced Thursday he will not become the fifth president of Delaware Technical Community College.More
Powered by WorldNow

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service