Proponents of gay marriage are hopeful and opponents wary after arguments on Proposition 8 at the Supreme Court Tuesday. But both acknowledge the import.
As supporters and opponents of Proposition 8, the controversial California measure banning same-sex marriage, sifted through the arguments made before the Supreme Court Tuesday morning, they could agree on one thing: This is a watershed moment.
“I can’t believe we have come this far, frankly,” says Nowlin Haltom, a real estate agent in the Los Angeles suburb of Studio City. He married his partner of 15 years in New York two years ago and says he has been in this fight “for a long time.”
Meanwhile, Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, says the Supreme Court is considering toying with thousands of years of human history. “There is nothing in the history of the world culture that supports redefining marriage as an institution between a man and a man or a woman and a woman,” he says.
Possible outcomes from Tuesday’s arguments range from the case being dismissed all the way up to a broad ruling on whether or not there is a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry, says Rebecca Brown, a constitutional law professor at the University of Southern California's Gould School of law.
“They’ve heard all the arguments, now they will go away and sort through them,” she says. A decision is expected by early June.
Mr. Haltom is grateful for the progress that has been made on the issue, noting that when he first came out to his family, “my father would not speak to me for two years.” The fact that the law is being heard in the nation’s highest court is promising, but there is still much work left to do, says Haltom, a Vietnam veteran.
“I am certainly hopeful that the court will go all the way and make the biggest statement,” he says. But “something more narrow is probably likely.”