Gay Marriage 2015—A #DeepLez Investigation of the SCOTUS Trial


Not sure of what happened during the SCOTUS trial? Want to woo your love interest with your #DeepLez knowledge of the law of current events over brunch?

Well, look no further. AfterEllen is here to help. Here’s all you need to know about last week’s trial.


Last Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard the oral arguments for Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that will determine if gay marriage extends across the United States, becoming a federal right rather than a state right.

Obergefell v. Hodges is actually just one of the petitions; the trial represented a collection of four different petitions, challenging extant state laws in Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan, and Kentucky—four of 13 states that currently prohibit same-sex marriage.

The pro-LGBT petitioners of each case collectively hinged their argument on what is commonly referred to as the “Equal Protection” clause of the 14th Amendment, which states “no state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.” These petitioners explicitly called upon the 14th Amendment because it was the reason cited in Edie Windsor’s Supreme Court victory in 2013; the “Equal Protection” clause invalidated a proviso in DOMA that denied same-sex couples the same federal benefits as hetero-married couples.

Pretty simple, right? We know that citizens who want to marry a partner of the “same sex” are, to quote the HRC, legally denied “1,138 benefits, rights and protections provided on the basis of marital status in Federal law.”

That same-sex marriage has been relegated to the states has resulted in a patchwork of laws—a legal and bureaucratic nightmare for any same-sex couple who may move between states or having varying citizen statuses (i.e. those dealing with federal matters like immigration).

Considering the two 2013 Supreme Court victories for the LGBT community (United States v. Windsor and the Prop 8 case, Hollingsworth v. Perry), and the fact that anti-gay marriage laws are falling like dominoes across America (37 states allow same-sex marriage), it may seem like this victory is a certainty.

Well, it’s not.

While the verdict doesn’t arrive until the last week of June, reading the SCOTUS transcripts from last week’s trial reveal how victory for our community is still very much up in the air—especially considering, as the following breakdown shows, that the lawyers for both sides come across unfavorably.

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