Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage is in doubt today as the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago held oral arguments. A federal district court judge struck down the ban in June, ruling that the law is unconstitutional. Indiana appealed the lower court ruling to the Court of Appeals.
The Court of Appeals combined Indiana’s case with a challenge in Wisconsin, which was also struck down by a district court judge. The federal judiciary is broken up into different regions, known as circuits. The 7th Circuit covers Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.
Wisconsin’s Solicitor General, who was defending his state’s ban on same-sex marriage, said that the ban was meant to preserve “tradition”.
“It was tradition to not allow blacks and whites to marry – a tradition that got swept away,” Judge Richard Posner, a Reagan appointee, said. Posner called the state’s same-sex marriage ban “a tradition of hate … and savage discrimination.”
Indiana’s solicitor general took a different tack, arguing that the purpose of marriage is procreation.
“Men and women create babies and there has to be a social mechanism to deal with that,” Indiana’s solicitor general, Thomas Fisher, said.
Posner pointed out that same-sex couples already have children through adoption and other means.
“Wouldn’t the children want their parents to be married? What do you think is psychologically better for the child?”
Two other judges also presided over the oral arguments. Judge Ann Claire Williams is a Clinton appointee, while Judge David Hamilton is an Obama appointee. The final decision could take weeks. The Supreme Court may ultimately delay any ruling if the state appeals.