Protesters, supporters gather as Supreme Court takes up gay marriage bans

The constitutionality of states banning gay marriage now lies in the hands of the nation's high court as many states, Michigan included, wait for the decision.

On Tuesday, both sides presented arguments to the U.S. Supreme Court. With hundreds waiting outside, the nine Chief Justices heard the arguments as well as an outburst in the middle of the hearings. However, those inside the packed courtroom say the justices appeared to be divided on the issue.

After two and a half hours inside the courtroom, Michigan's April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse faced a litany of questions from the justices 

"We stand before you on step closer to being a legalized, recognized family in the state of Michigan, DeBoer said.

The DeBoer-Rowses were among the plaintiffs from four states seeking to overturns bans on same sex marriage. The justices struck fast at the idea of changing the very definition of marriage from one man and one woman. One of those was Justice Steven Breyer 

"Suddenly you want nine people outside the ballot box to require states, that don't want to do it, to change what marriage is to include gay people. Why can't those states wait and see whether, in fact doing so in other states is or is not harmful to marriage," Breyer said.

Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged the relatively recent broad acceptance of same sex marriage throughout many states, but still the issue of voter's or state's rights.

"If you prevail here there will be no more debate. Closing a debate, closes minds. It will have a consequence on how this institution is accepted. People feel very differently about something if they have a chance to vote on it than if it's enclosed on by the courts," Roberts said.

Justice Anthony Scalia cited religious reasons to consider the bans' constitutionality.

"I'm concerned about the wisdom of this court imposing, through the constitution, a requirement of action which is unpalatable to many of our citizens for religious reasons."

But some on the court asking the attorney from the State of Michigan how same sex marriage could possibly harm conventional marriage. Justice Elena Kagan took a stance against that argument. 

"I don't think that's right. I think before something as fundamental to society and individuals as marriage, before an exclusion of some kind can be made, the state needs some reason for that exclusion," Kagan said.

The attorney for the State of Michigan argued that the definition of marriage as one man and one woman is about binding a couple to their biological children. Some on the court, namely Justice Anthony Kennedy, weren't buying it and even pointed out many same sex couples adopt children and create a bond children might not otherwise have.

"But that assumes that same-sex couples could not have the more noble purpose, and that's the whole point. Same-sex couples say of 'course we understand the nobility and sacredness of marriage; we know we can't procreate but we want the other attributes in order to show that we too have a dignity that can be fulfilled',"

The two and a half our proceeding wasn't entirely smooth. It was interrupted at one point by a protester who was quickly escorted out. 

The court is expected to make a ruling on the four cases at the end of June.
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