Area attorney weighs in on same sex marriage oral arguments

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The Supreme Court heard a historic argument on a challenge to state laws that limit marriage to heterosexual couples Tuesday morning.

At issue was California's Proposition 8, a state amendment to the constitution approved by voters in 2008 that limits marriage to one-man, one-woman couples.

Plaintiffs challenging the law were represented by former U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson, who argued that Prop 8 was enacted to stigmatize and harm gays and lesbians, not to serve a rational purpose.

The attorney arguing in support of Prop 8 said the definition of marriage resides with the people, not with judges.

On Tuesday during oral arguments some justices hinted the petition didn’t have standing, meaning is there reason for them to hear the case?

However, Johns, Flaherty and Collins attorney Joe Veenstra said people shouldn’t read too much into oral arguments.

“It’s sort of like justices thinking out loud, and just because there are a lot of questions about one subject doesn’t mean that they’ve decided one way or another,” said Veenstra.

Veenstra said the Supreme Court doesn’t have to hear every case, even if it’s fully briefed.

“That rarely happens, but it happens sometimes and they can certainly do that,” said Veenstra.

If the Supreme Court decides the case doesn’t have standing, then the lower court ruling will stand.

Plus, same sex marriage would be recognized in California.

“However, the Supreme Court ruling would have no broad implications for other states,” said Veenstra.

Veenstra said it could also possibly impact other states in california’s circuit.

However, if the Supreme Court decides the case has standing it could have a broader impact.

“If the court says the petitioners have standing, and the court decides to issue a broad ruling about constitutional amendments banning same sex marriage and says that those types of amendments violate equal protection, that could have an impact in a state like Wisconsin,” said Veenstra.

The court is expected to release its ruling in June.


The comment sections of our web set are designed for thoughtful, intelligent conversation and debate. We want to hear from the viewers but we are not obligated to post comments we feel inappropriate or violate our guidelines. Here are some of the criteria you should follow when posting comments:

Comments cannot be profane or vulgar. Children and families visit this site. We will delete comments that use profanity or cross the lines of good taste.

We will delete all comments using hate speech. Slurs, stereotypes and violent talk aren’t welcome on our web site.

Comments should not attack other readers personally.

We will delete comments we deem offensive, in bad taste, or out of bounds. We are not obligated to post comments that are rude or insensitive.

We do not edit user-submitted comments.

As a host WEAU 13 News welcomes a wide spectrum of opinions. However, we have a responsibility to all our readers to try to keep our comment section fair and decent. For that reason WEAU 13 News reserves the right to not post or to remove any comment.
powered by Disqus
WEAU 13 NEWS 1907 S. Hastings Way Eau Claire, WI 54701 By Phone: Main Number (715) 835-1313 and (715) 832-3474. Tip Line (715) 839-WEAU - (715) 839-9328 Sports Line (715) 852-1537
Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 200131851 - weau.com/a?a=200131851
Gray Television, Inc.