7th Circuit Court Appeals heard arguments on same-sex marriage ban

(WISH Photo)

CHICAGO, Ill. (WISH) – The 7th Circuit Court Appeals heard arguments from the state of Indiana and attorneys representing same-sex couples fight for the right to marry in the Hoosier State Tuesday.

No cameras were allowed inside. But, the judges questions inside the courtroom certainly captured people’s attention.

“And our son in the middle of the argument wrote me a note that said it best and it says, he’s getting cornered. Regarding to Tom Fisher,” said Henry Greene, plaintiff.

Seconds into Fishers’ opening statement, he was was interrupted by Judge Richard Posner and barely got another word in edge-wise

“I was embarrassed for the state,” said Ruth Morrison, retired battalion chief for Indianapolis Fire Department.

The state argues that marriage is an incentive for hetero couples to make a commitment which helps reduce the number of unintentional pregnancies.

“One thing to think about is go out on the street and tell someone on the street is the reason we have marriages is because heterosexual couples have a hard time not procreating accidentally and we need a corral for them to procreate in people will look at you like you’re crazy,” said Ken Faulk, ACLU Indiana Legal Director.

The judges’ main concern was how the state’s argument affects children. What about the thousands needing adopted and the ones already with two dads or two moms who can’t be as protected like their friends with married parents.

“It was almost like they were inside our child’s head as she wants to be treated just like any other kid and her family treated just like any other family,” said Steven Stolen, Plaintiff.

Judge Richard Posner was tough on ACLU legal director Ken Faulk as well. He asked him if the ban is lifted, where will marriage limitations stand? For example, could that pave the way for polygamists to legally marry?

“If you draw a diagram of a marriage who does what, who picks the kid up at school, who helps with the homework. You can’t tell if it’s same sex or opposite sex because it’s exactly the same. So, really it’s no different and that’s the main point,” said Faulk

Faulk says a polygamy diagram would look very different. His clients say they are happy with turn of events.

Plaintiff Tara Betterman-Layne was happy with the arguments and is hopeful for a ruling in her favor.

“It actually went a little bit better than I expected. I didn’t expect the sharpness of the judges at all. That was a real surprise,” she said.

Indiana Attorney General released a statement after the arguments saying:

“The argument in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals is the one time in the case where the lawyers can speak directly to the judges; and vigorous questioning by judges is how the appellate process is supposed to work. Since the larger legal question could end up before the United States Supreme Court, this 7th Circuit hearing is one important step in the process. As the state government’s lawyers, my office has a duty in this appeal to defend Indiana’s law. While this case stirs strong emotions on all sides, we urge everyone to show civility toward each other and respect for the court,” Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said.

A decision is expected in the coming weeks or months. Then the case will likely head to the US Supreme Court.

Below is audio from the 7th Circuit Court Appeals website from Tuesday’s oral arguments.



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