Original: So, now that the oral argument has been conducted, what mattered to the justices? I had the oral argument playing in the background while I worked today, so I wasn’t paying rapt attention. I did get a general gist of what went on, though.
Justice Borden was very concerned about the civil union bill and how integral it was to plaintiff’s argument. He wondered if the Court were to find that the bill is a violation of the EP clause and the legislature repealed the bill the very next day, would plaintiffs lose? Plaintiff’s counsel argued that the bill only underscored their argument and was their argument was not dependent on it. I’m not sure Justice Borden was convinced.
Judge Harper asked whether there was a right to same-sex marriage as opposed to just marriage. One of the justices said that the plaintiffs were free to marry whomever they wanted (as long as they were of the opposite sex). I think this is essentially the argument. It will turn on whether the judges feel that gays and lesbians are a “suspect class” deserving of greater scrutiny.
From the Courant:
If the justices determined that gay and lesbian couples fell into this status, they would more intensively scrutinize the state’s motives in distinguishing between civil unions and marriage, and whether those objectives were both rational, and narrowly tailored. It was this type of analysis that formed the underpinnings of the 2003 Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling that afforded same-sex couples the right to marry.
Plaintiff’s counsel made a very strong point:
Klein replied that the fundamental principles of marriage are not based on gender.”It is really a relationship of two legal equals based on mutual consent by which they take responsibility for each other, and that relationship is protected by the state,” he said.
Also, Lawrence was invoked a lot.
As of this point, I have no idea what the outcome will be. If I were to guess, I’d guess that the Court would deny the appeal, but strongly suggest that the legislature make it happen.
I was going to link to other CT blogs that might have more info, but only one has a post about this so far.