A potentially huge step was taken towards overturning the same-sex marriage ban in California that was instated by Proposition 8 in 2008. The U.S. Supreme Court today heard oral arguments for the case of Hollingsworth v. Perry, which challenges Prop 8 and suggests that it violates the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Prop 8 has been determined unconstitutional before - in 2010, a US District Court judge overturned the ban, and in 2010 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed his decision.
"Todayâ€™s oral argument before the Supreme Court marks the start of the final chapter of our four-year journey toward equality," Plaintiff Paul Katami said of today's events in a press release. "The argument advanced by our incredible legal team to the nine Justices is clear and unequivocal: equal justice under law means equal justice for all. We are confident that one day, very soon, this core American value will be realized and Proposition 8 and laws like it throughout the nation will be eliminated."
According to the LA Times, Supreme Court justices were closely split on the issue after hearing the oral argument, but one Justice - Anthony M. Kennedy - questioned why the court had voted to hear the case, and suggested Prop 8 be struck down without "ruling broadly" on the issue. Kennedy also commented that upholding Prop 8 would do more harm than good, as there are more than 40,000 children being raised by same-sex couples in California, and "they want their parents to have the full recognition [of marriage]."
More conservatives justices like John G. Roberts weren't as sympathetic to the issue, however - Roberts said that marriage has been between a man and a woman since "time immemorial," and did not want Prop 8 overturned.
A decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry is expected some time in June of this year.