Photo essay, transcript, audio: Supreme Court Prop 8 gay marriage case

UPDATE: Where can you get the transcript and audio of today’s oral arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry?  Right here. The transcript of today’s Supreme Court oral arguments on the Proposition 8 (Prop 8) gay marriage case is here, and you can find the audio of the arguments here. I’ve posted the entire transcript at the bottom of this post.

I went to the Supreme Court this morning to cover the Prop 8 gay marriage hearing, from the outside – it was quite a jovial scene.  First, a few article summarizing what happened today, then my photo essay to give you a sense of the scene – you can click on the bottom right “next” button to see the next photo.  There are about 30 of them. And I’ve posted video from this morning below as well.

SCOTUSblog explains how the arguments went this morning.
Chris Geidner’s report at Buzzfeed on what he thinks happened this morning.
Huffington Post’s take.

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This is Kelly and Jack, from DC, and two of their three kids Ravyn,Cardel and Raine. While being interviewed, the smaller boy on the right told a radio show, “God loves everybody.” Adorable. © John Aravosis 2013

It was a powerful morning – almost a jovial atmosphere outside the Supreme Court.  I got there around 8:45am, the arguments began at 10am.  But by 8:45am it was already packed outside – wall to wall people, and all, 100%, on our side.  The bad guys were NOWHERE to be found.  It was a huge tactical mistake on their part – they organized elsewhere and decided to show up at 10am AFTER much of the media had already taken its photos and left.  Any freshman in college PR major could tell you that thew media wants photos in front of the Supreme Court.  And the only people in front of the Supreme Court were gay people and our allies.  Oh well.

And here’s a video of the pro-gay throngs outside the Supreme Court this morning.  This was about 845am – you’ll notice that there isn’t an anti-gay in sight.

And here are pro-gay forces chanting across the street from the Supreme Court as the anti-gay go marching by at 10am, just as the oral arguments begin inside.

And here is the entire transcript of today’s oral arguments:


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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21 Responses to “Photo essay, transcript, audio: Supreme Court Prop 8 gay marriage case”

  1. dcinsider says:

    Under DOMA I see no other result than that. Couples living in non-SSM states are not going to get SSM anytime soon. If DOMA is dead, couples i non SSM states may have a partial victory. If they marry in an SSM state, that marriage would be denied in their home state, yet recognized for federal government purposes, the opposite of DOMA.

  2. Papa Bear says:

    Oh! That’s not anything like what I was thinking…

  3. Luke Givens says:

    Made it up to pic 3/30. Sorry, too infuriatingly slow.

  4. MyrddinWilt says:

    I seem to recall that at some point equality supporters were throwing ‘states rights’ back at the bigots as an argument against DOMA. Its DOMA that is the real problem. It is going to be really hard to repeal at the federal level. Boehner would never give it time in the House even though there are probably enough votes to repeal right now.

    Bringing PropH8 and DOMA up on consecutive days might be seen as a way to skewer the conservatives on the court. Will Scalia rule that states rights apply on Tuesday but not on Wednesday? Of course he will because Scalia is just an attention seeking troll and Thomas will sit there and say nothing because he knows he still gets his paycheck.

  5. MyrddinWilt says:

    Agreed, they can duck PropH8 by claiming they don’t have jurisdiction. Even if they take it and strike it down the decision will probably be very narrow.

    DOMA is going to be impossible to avoid because it is not just one case it is five and counting. And with marriage now established in multiple states there are cases stacking up waiting to be heard. In quite a few of them there is really no choice but to recognize marriage. For example a Texas divorce case attempting to end a marriage made in MA. Those issues are not going to go away by wishing them away.

    What I find pretty sick is the way people can call themselves ‘libertarian’ and support the hate crap of the GOP. That and the way they can imagine the deficit to be the biggest catastrophe facing the Republic while suggesting that the US should start more wars as soon as possible. Oh come to think of it, there are a lot of sick things wrt the GOP.

  6. A Bolivian cinematographer.

  7. BeccaM says:

    California Domestic Partnership

  8. Papa Bear says:

    Hmmm, I know what a DP is, but what’s a Cali DP?

  9. Andrew says:

    This has been playing over and over in my head today “…all I want is what you want…”

  10. kingstonbears says:

    Thanks, John, for all your hard work on this. We all really appreciate it. Was great to actually be able to read and listen to the presentations.

  11. BeccaM says:

    I hope so. I also hope that as Smiinh points out below that they don’t stupidly confine same-sex marriage rights only to gay and lesbian couples actually living in states that recognize it.

  12. BeccaM says:

    Indeed — and that’s just one of the flaws in the “leave it up the states” position.

    Here in New Mexico, there’s an additional wrinkle: We have no state law specifically banning same-sex marriage, and the only law requiring hetero-only is the one that defines the official NM marriage license application. Moreover, we have another law saying the state is required to recognize all legal marriages performed in other states, and the list of banned categories does not include same-sex couples. And we have a state constitutional provision that bans discrimination on the basis of gender.

    Back in 2011, the state AG said he thought marriages should be recognized — but he declined to make it an official order. Now with the SCOTUS cases running and the surge in support for marriage equality, the ACLU just recently filed a lawsuit in NM state court to try to push the issue.

  13. dcinsider says:

    I suspect that Kennedy will be a lot more comfortable with finding DOMA unconstitutional. He will be amenable to the concept that once a state permits SSM, then the federal government has no business second-guessing that decision. What today’s argument reveals is that while he may not be all the way on board with SSM, he understands the damage of anti-gay laws, and he will see the damage inflicted upon gays and lesbians, and their children, when they are denied federal benefits.

    DOMA dies at least 5-4, and I suspect the Chief may hop on board that train if only to write the majority opinion (6-3).

  14. samiinh says:

    It will be interesting to see the questions regarding DOMA tomorrow. I have read that they could again find that the House Republicans do not have standing in the case. Or they could decide that the law is unconstitutional as other federal courts have done, which would affect my husband and myself in NH where we are legally married.

    My question becomes what happens to a couple legally married in one of the nine states that recognize same-sex marriage when they move to a state that does not. Will they still be seen as legally married at the federal level is DOMA is overturned, or only if they are domiciled in a state that recognizes their union?

  15. BeccaM says:

    Same thing here in New Mexico, even though we have a Cali DP and would immediately head off to get married in some state where it was legal if it had any value at the state or Federal level.

    It really strikes at the heart of equal protection and due process, when some people have civil rights based on where they live and others do not.

  16. BlueIdaho says:

    Most of the news feeds are indicating that SCOTUS will rule that the Prop 8 proponents didn’t have standing to bring the suit. This does little for couples like my partner and me who live in a state with a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Thirteen years ago we had a civil union in Vermont, but it means nothing here in Idaho. We have thought about going to Washington and getting married, but until a broad ruling is implemented that covers all 50 states, what is the point?

  17. FLL says:

    It seems like the Supreme Court wants to take the off-ramp in the Prop 8 case and simply dismiss the case, letting Judge Walker’s ruling stand. The real contribution the Supreme Court could make is to adopt heightened scrutiny in the DOMA case, making it easier (perhaps inevitable?) for any future challenges to anti-equality amendments to win. The next challenge to an anti-equality state amendment might reach the Supreme Court in two or three years. Of course, taking the DOMA case almost certainly means that DOMA will be gone in June, a huge advantage in and of itself.

  18. BeccaM says:

    Reading the coverage from, it’s looking rather mixed.

    As ever, the key vote on this is Kennedy, and in oral arguments on the PropH8 case, he seems clearly uncomfortable with the idea of a sweeping marriage equality ruling. Both he and Roberts appear to be in favor of punting on the case because of the one flaw that’s been there all along: Whether the PropH8 proponents ever had legal standing to run with the case.

    In other words, even though Judge Walker wrote his original opinion with language and intent to convey that marriage is a fundamental and universal human right, regardless of sexual orientation, and a net benefit for society, SCOTUS as of today appears to be leaning towards simply letting the PropH8 overturn stand, but do nothing with respect to the larger question.

    What this means for DOMA, I have no idea. It’s sounding like they want some excuse, any excuse to push the core issue — whether gay and lesbian couples have a Constitutionally-guaranteed right to marry, regardless which state they live in — down the road at least another 3-5 years.

  19. BeccaM says:

    My wife and I have been together for over 15 years. We married in a private religious ceremony more than 14 years ago. I honestly don’t remember when we sent in the first California ‘Domestic Partnership’ paperwork, but it was very shortly after the very first version was made available, and we kept that right up through the current version today. We were married again in San Francisco in 2004 when Gavin Newsom ordered licenses to be issued, and heartbroken of course when they were all rescinded — although we still have a copy.

    We lived abroad for several years between 2006 and 2009, but we were back in the country in late 2008 and could have gotten married in CA before the election and PropH8, but decided we didn’t want to deal with the uncertainty yet again, especially since we were planning in a few months to relocate to New Mexico (much lower cost of living, plus family and friends around here).

    Our position is similar to your BF’s, even though we could travel to some other state and get married (again!), we’d rather wait until we can get something that will actually have legal meaning.

    However, if SCOTUS overturns DOMA and requires the Feds to recognize same-sex marriage, we’ll probably be on the first plane or hop in the car to head to Iowa or Washington State. Or, if it’s PropH8 overturned, back there since we have friends we can stay with.

  20. My bf and I have been together for almost 9 1/2 years. We had a commitment ceremony in 2005 with a pastor. Yet gay marriage is not legal in Michigan. I want to go to Windsor and get married but he wants to wait until its legal here. How Ironic that a conservative monarch is for gay marriage and so is Mexico but not the USA.

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