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Gay marriage gets its day in court and on the Web

March 26, 2013|By Matt Pearce | This post has been updated, as indicated below.
  • Qween Amar of Orlando, Fla., dances as demonstrators gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington during arguments on California's Proposition 8 concerning gay marriage.
Qween Amar of Orlando, Fla., dances as demonstrators gather outside the… (Molly Riley / MCT )

Tuesday's U.S. Supreme Court arguments over whether gay and lesbian couples have the right to marry in California became a spectacle both in D.C. and on the Web.

In Washington, demonstrators expressed both opposition to and support of same-sex marriage while the justices heard oral arguments in what could become a landmark case for same-sex marriage's legality across the United States.

The case involves California's Proposition 8, which voters passed in 2008 to ban same-sex marriage, trumping a state Supreme Court decision that had legalized it.

On Wed­nes­day, the court will hear another gay-rights case: whether the fed­er­al De­fense of Marriage Act wrongly denies equal benefits to mar­ried gay couples.

After Tuesday's arguments, attorneys for both sides said the justices did not reveal a particular leaning for how they might rule. No decision is expected before June.

Proponents of upholding Proposition 8 argued that states should be allowed to decide whether to ban or legalize same-sex marriage.

Opponents noted that public opinion on the issue is shifting. Nine states and the District of Columbia now permit same-sex marriage.

The Los Angeles Times has posted oral arguments if you'd like to hear the case as it was presented to the justices:

Many Americans, including politicians and public figures, took to Twitter to announce their stand on the issue, which is often opposed by conservatives on religious grounds. 

California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, announced his support for overturning Proposition 8:

... as did the Democratic governor of Massachussetts, Deval Patrick.

Many members of Congress have begun openly expressing support for same-sex marriage, leading to a flood of tweets during the oral arguments. Several lawmakers, including Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Reps. Sam Farr (D-Carmel) and Jim Himes (D-Conn.), changed their Twitter avatar to a red equal sign, indicating their support for same-sex marriage. The symbol, initially promoted by the Human Rights Campaign, swept across social media on Tuesday.

— Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) (@RepDanKildee) March 26, 2013

Other members of Congress expressed opposition to overturning Proposition 8.

Celebrities chimed in too.

And then there were the usual jokes.

[Updated 2:57 p.m. March 27: This post previously included a March 26 tweet by user @GuyEndoreKaiser that stated, "If you stand against gay marriage, congratulations on standing with the Taliban." The user has since deleted the tweet.]

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