WASHINGTON (Yahoo News) — In the same-sex-marriage oral arguments at the Supreme Court on Tuesday, eight of the justices revealed their personalities and their very different approaches to marriage equality in particular and the Constitution in general. What follows are the most revealing quotes, in order of seniority, from each of the justices who spoke at the argument (Justice Thomas was silent), along with their central concern and contribution to the debate.
“One of the things that’s truly extraordinary about this whole issue is how quickly has been the acceptance of your position across broad elements of society. … “If you prevail here, there will be no more debate. I mean, closing of debate can close minds, and it will have a consequence on how this new institution is accepted. People feel very differently about something if they have a chance to vote on it than if it’s imposed on them by the courts.”- Chief Justice John Roberts
Chief Justice Roberts has long been troubled by the idea that courts might short-circuit a democratic debate over marriage equality by imposing a constitutional right to marry by judicial fiat. In his dissent from the Windsor case in 2013, he wrote that he was reluctant to “tar the political branches with the brush of bigotry” without convincing evidence that a law’s “principal purpose was to codify malice.” He might vote to uphold same-sex-marriage bans on the grounds that the people, not judges, should decide the future of marriage.