First, President Obama announced his “evolution” on same-sex marriage.
More recently, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a statement of support for gay couples, and Sens. Claire McCaskill, of Missouri, and Mark Warner, of Virginia, said approving same-sex marriage was “the right thing to do.”
But for no-doubt-about-it straight talk on the cusp of two days of Supreme Court arguments that could change the landscape of gay rights in America, there’s always the District of Columbia’s “warrior on the Hill” — House Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton.
“Opponents are reduced to saying that states should recognize marriage equality in their own time, or find a technical way to slow down people who have a legitimate constitutional claim,” said Mrs. Norton, a non-voting member of Congress. “This is a dangerous approach, which the Court has never used because the Court does not create rights; it announces their existence.”
Nine states and Washington, D.C., allow same-sex marriage, a tally that could broaden after the high court weighs in on Hollingsworth v. Perry, a case that challenges the Proposition 8 ballot initiative in California that limited marriage to a union between a man and a woman.
Advocates on both sides of the issue camped in front of the Supreme Court for days leading up to Tuesday’s hourlong argument on the California case.
On Wednesday, the justices will question attorneys on United States v. Windsor, which challenges the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) of 1996 that bars same-sex married couples from obtaining federal benefits.