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SCOTUS to hear same sex marriage appeal in April

Get ready.


The Supreme Court will hear arguments over same-sex marriage on April 28 and make audio of the proceedings available later that day.

The gay marriage cases mark the only time this term that the court has agreed to the quick release of audio recordings. But the court is continuing its ban on providing video of its sessions or even live-streamed audio.

The arguments on gay marriage have been allotted two-and-a-half hours on the final Tuesday in April. Audio and the transcript of the proceedings should be available on the court’s website by 2 p.m. EDT, the court said Thursday in a statement.


Lawyers on both sides will get 90 minutes to argue whether gay and lesbian couples have a constitutional right to marry everywhere in the U.S. Another hour will be devoted to the question of whether states must recognize same-sex unions performed elsewhere.

The appeal is of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision, the only one in the bunch so far to have upheld inequality. Nonetheless, there is a Texas angle to the appeal.

The nearly 100 plaintiffs challenging gay marriage bans in 15 states on Friday made an impassioned plea to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the justices to end the practice of treating homosexual couples like second-class citizens by extending them the right to legally wed.

The brief was filed on behalf of 92 plaintiffs, including Mark Phariss and Victor Holmes, a gay couple challenging Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage.

Submitted the day after the Supreme Court announced it would consider the issue on April 28, the 77-page brief says upholding tradition cannot trump upholding the citizens’ constitutional rights; it adds the high court, not state legislatures or ballot boxes, is the correct place to decide the issue since most states with bans in place show no signs of change.

“The continuing hostile environment in some places has revealed many state officials’ unapologetic animus toward gay men and lesbians,” the brief states.

“When asked what he would tell gay and lesbian veterans returning to Texas from the Iraq war, then-Governor Rick Perry responded, ‘Texas has made a decision on marriage, and if there’s a state with more lenient views than Texas, then maybe that’s where they should live.”

Perry made the comment in 2005 after a speech at the Calvary Cathedral International Church in Fort Worth, when he was asked what he would tell homosexual veterans returning to a state that recently had added a ban on gay marriage to its Constitution.

“If the Supreme Court does not now rule against same-sex marriage bans, marriage equality will not come to many states for a long time,” said Phariss.

I remember that statement by Perry. It was one of the ugliest things he’s ever said or done, and he’s said and done a lot of ugly things. I hope that comes back to haunt him.

Anyway. It remains an open question whether the Fifth Circuit will hand down its decision prior to SCOTUS, which is expected to rule by July. Heck, we may not have a ruling from the Fifth Circuit on the motion to lift the stay by then. But one way or another, we should have an answer in a few months’ time.

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