Why the Last Defense of Same-Sex Marriage Bans Fails

Slate Outward
By Nathaniel Frank
June 22, 2015

After literally decades of shifting rationales for banning same-sex marriage, opponents of equality have made their last stand in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, which the Supreme Court will decide in the next two weeks. During oral arguments in April, proponents of straight-only marriage laid out their case in the strongest terms they could muster, a distillation of years of conservative think-tank messages honed and re-honed as each previous argument fell.

So what’s the best they’ve got? For the answer, all eyes were on John Bursch, a Michigan assistant attorney general representing the four states defending their same-sex marriage bans. Across the 45 minutes allotted for his argument, Bursch was asked exactly 10 different times how letting gay couples wed would harm the institution of marriage—a question most legal experts think must be persuasively answered to justify denying gay people this fundamental right.

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