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Happening Now: Supreme Court Hears First Of Two Gay-Marriage Cases

A Washington D.C. motorcycle police officer kept watch on demonstrators outside the Supreme Court Tuesday morning.
Jonathan Ernst
A Washington D.C. motorcycle police officer kept watch on demonstrators outside the Supreme Court Tuesday morning.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday held the first of two high-profile hearings on laws concerning same-sex marriage (today's focuses on California's Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage; Wednesday's focuses on the Defense of Marriage Act).

We're watching for news from inside the court and posting updates.

If you're not up to speed on the cases and the issues, our post from earlier in the day is one place to start.


Update at 11:14 a.m. ET. Votes Aren't There To Recognize Right?

Fresh analysis from SCOTUSblog: "There are not 5 votes to strike down #prop8 and recognize equal right to #ssm at this time."

Update at 11:10 a.m. ET. Kennedy Uncomfortable; Prefers Dismissal?

SCOTUSblog update: "Breaking: key vote Kennedy VERY uncomfortable striking down #prop8. Suggests dismissing case. Would leave in place 9th Cir pro-#ssm ruling."

Update at 10:57 a.m. ET. Justice Kennedy On Children Of Same-Sex Couples:


According to Reuters, Justice Anthony Kennedy (often the "swing" vote in close cases) expressed the thought that children of same-sex couples "want their parents to have full recognition and legal status."

The New York Times' live blog adds that "the justices, particularly Anthony Kennedy and Antonin Scalia, appear to be debating the effect of the gay marriage ban on the children of gay couples."

Update at 10:41 a.m. ET. Word Begins To Emerge; No "Standing?"

SCOTUSblog and Reuters are beginning to post some bits of information about what's been said during this morning's oral arguments and what the justices' comments may mean. According to Reuters, Chief Justice John Roberts' questions hint that he thinks the sponsors of Prop 8 may not have the legal standing to challenge a lower court's ruling that invalidated the law. NPR's Nina Totenberg reported for Morning Edition that "standing" would be the threshold question. If that's the case, then the court may not rule on the constitutionality of the ban on gay marriage.

Update at 10:30 a.m. ET. Filling Time:

We're likely at least 10 minutes or so away from getting our first word about what's been said during Tuesday's oral arguments. Meanwhile, the live blogs from other organizations, such as The New York Times and Reuters, are filling the time with word of celebrity sightings -- actor/director Rob Reiner, for instance, is at the court.

From our original post, at 10:05 a.m. ET:

The justices came to the bench at 10 a.m. ET. Tuesday's argument should be over by 11 a.m. ET. SCOTUSblog is promising updates on its Twitter page. We'll be monitoring that and watching what others have to say -- including the discussion hosted by NPR's Frank James and Andy Carvin on the NPRPolitics Twitter account. Right after the hearing, we're scheduled to speak with NPR's Nina Totenberg.

Outside the court this morning, NPR's Craig Windham said the crowd was so large "you can't even move through it."

There were demonstrators on both sides of the issue, Craig added earlier, and an hour or so before the hearing, "clearly the majority ... favor gay marriage and they're hoping the court will make a broad ruling." That changed as the court session began, Craig later told our Newscast Desk -- hundreds of opponents of gay marriage came to the site to make their voices heard.

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