Both Sides of the Same-Sex Marriage Case Duel With Signs and Slogans Outside the Supreme Court

Supporters of same-sex marriages gather outside the US Supreme Court waiting for its decision on April 28, 2014 in Washington, DC. The US Supreme Court is hearing arguments on whether gay couples have a constitutional right to wed -- a potentially historic decision that could see same-sex marriage recognized nationwide.
Photo: Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images

The Supreme Court’s oral arguments on Obergefell v. Hodges, better known as the group of cases that could decide the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, are happening today. More than a thousand people were waiting outside the courthouse to signal support for their side. Those favoring an overturn of same-sex marriage bans appeared to outnumber those opposing giving same-sex couples a Constitutional right to wed — although one person supporting the bans managed to give his opinions outsize attention by shouting “homosexuality is an abomination!” during the middle of the court proceedings before being ejected.

Thirteen states currently ban same-sex marriage — which means that 70 percent of the country lives in a place where same-sex marriage is legal — but the case only focuses on bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee.

The massive attention this case has received is noticeable not only in person, but on paper too. A record-breaking 148 amicus briefs have been filed signaling support and opposition to this week’s cases. 

Ryan Aquilina holds a sign as pro and anti-gay marriage demonstrators rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court on the morning that oral arguments on the question of same sex marriage are heard. Photo: Brian Cahn/Zuma Press/Corbis

However, given that playful or incendiary signs are a far quicker read, the scene outside the Supreme Court is going to be the most memorable and cited signal of what this issue looks like outside of the brains of the nine justices who will decide its future.

A man dressed as a ballerina is seen outside the US Supreme Court as anti and pro same sex marriages wait for the court decision on April 28, 2014 in Washington, DC. Photo: Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 28: Pro and anti-gay rights protest outside the US Supreme Court on April 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. The Supreme Court meets to hear arguments whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to wed in the United States, with a final decision expected in June. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images) Photo: Olivier Douliery/2015 Getty Images

The oral arguments are scheduled to take two and a half hours, and the justices are expected to announce their decision in June. Some of the people who managed to see the oral arguments live had to pay someone $50 an hour to get in. 

The pace of legalizing same-sex marriage has been quite quick — just five years ago, same-sex marriage was only legal in four states. Eighteen of the states that have legalized same-sex marriage have only done it in the past six months. Sixty-one percent of Americans think gay marriage should be legal. 

Those supporting same-sex marriage seemed to be buoyed by the scene, and maybe all the poll numbers and legislation that had inspired it. The Washington Post saw one man respond to a man who opposed same-sex marriage and legal marijuana by yelling, “Gay marijuana for all!”

Supreme Court Debates Same-Sex Marriage