There weren’t many people at the federal courthouse in Ashland, KY when I arrived this morning around seven o’clock.This couple had been there since before five.
Those opposed to same-sex marriage stood on the left with their signs, while on the right stood the supporters of marriage equality. In the middle stood a young man in a Jesus t-shirt who appeared to be praying the whole time, sometimes standing, sometimes kneeling on the courthouse steps.
The occasion was a contempt of court hearing for Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis. Defying a judge’s order, Davis has refuse to issue any marriage licenses because of her personal belief that gay marriage violates God’s law.After hearing testimony from Davis and from a witness for the plaintiffs Judge David L. Bunning ordered Davis jailed for contempt. U.S. Marshals ushered her out of the courtroom.The judge then heard from several of Davis’ deputies, asking them if they were willing to issue marriage licenses in her absence. All but one, Kim Davis’ son, said they were. The sketch below shows some of those Rowan County deputy clerks sitting behind Ms Davis as her lawyer, Roger Gannan, addresses the court.Later in the afternoon it looked like there might be a deal in the works to free Kim Davis. The judge ordered her brought back to the courtroom and it was expected he might let Davis go if she agreed to stand aside and allow her deputies to issue the licenses. But her attorney told the judge that she was unwilling to budge from her position and she was not brought into the courtroom after all.
Gay-rights lawyers were seated in the first rows close to the bench when the opinion in Obergefell v Hodges was announced by Justice Kennedy. As it became clear that they had won big, that the Court had recognized a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, smiles broke out, backs were patted, and, once the Justices had left the bench, hugs all around.
Good vibes outside the Supreme Court this morning as the justices were about to hear over two hours of argument on gay marriage. The mood sobered up though as the first argument on the question of whether the constitution requires states to recognize same sex marriages got under way. The justices are evenly split with Kennedy the swing vote as usual, and Kennedy seemed troubled.
As soon as the first lawyer had finished and the Solicitor General was headed to the lectern a man with a good tan and white muttonchops stood and began to yell loudly. “The Bible teaches that you will burn in hell for eternity . . . homosexuality is an abomination,” he shouts as officers drag him from the courtroom.
A lot has and will be written about the argument, and on days like this I find it very hard to actually listen to the arguments – it’s a right-brain, left-brain thing, I guess – so I’ll just post my sketches and leave the comments to others.
On the last day of the its term the Supreme Court today handed twin victories to the cause of marriage equality.
If there was an empty seat in the courtroom I couldn’t see it.
Justice Kennedy had the first opinion, U.S. v Windsor, in which the Court found the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.And of course Justice Scalia read a lenghty dissent.
The second victory for same-sex marriage was by default in an opinion by Chief Justice Roberts where the Court found that the petitioners in support of California’s Proposition 8 lacked standing, thereby allowing the lower court’s ruling to stand.
The above sketch shows members of the Supreme Court bar waiting on the ground floor before being led up to the “great hall” were they will stand in line before being seated to hear oral arguments in U.S. v. Windsor, the second of two same-sex marriage cases heard by the Court this week.
Once again I’m just too beat after a long day to comment, so I’ll just post the sketches.
Allison Trzop has the SCOTUSblog round-up here.