Fight for gay marriage goes to US Supreme Court

Fight for gay marriage goes to US Supreme Court

Matter of privilege

Fight for gay marriage goes to US Supreme Court

Same-sex marriage takes centre stage on Tuesday as the US Supreme Court starts hearing oral arguments on the divisive issue in a landmark case.

Over two days, lawyers from both sides of the emotionally-charged debate will present their positions before the nine justices as supporters and opponents converge on Washington to rally for their respective positions.

The top court will first hear arguments over Proposition 8, a California referendum measure that struck down that state’s same-sex marriage initiative in 2008. The two couples who are plaintiffs staged a photo opportunity yesterday by inspecting the original handwritten text of the US Constitution on the eve of their day in court.

Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo joined Kris Perry and Sandy Tier on the steps of the National Archives in the US capital, where they posed for photographers but declined to speak to reporters.

They then went in “to view the US Constitution and reflect on the importance of their case for gay and lesbian couples across the nation,” said the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which supports their case.

On Wednesday, the court will consider the Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law which defines marriage as an act between a man and woman and thus denies married gays and lesbians the same rights and privileges.

The star plaintiff in that case is Edie Windsor, 83, who had to pay $363,000 in federal estate taxes when her partner of more than 40 years, Thea Spyer whom she had married in Canada in 2007, died in 2009.