Gay Marriage | News | Sonia Sotomayor | Supreme Court

Sotomayor: I'd Approach Same-Sex Marriage Issue 'With Open Mind'


The issue of same-sex marriage came up again in this morning's Senate hearings on the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court. It came up yesterday in a question from Senator Charles Grassley regarding the case Baker v. Nelson.

This morning, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) asked Sotomayor if she understands there is a public policy exception in the 'full faith and credit clause' which affects how states differ in the way they treat marriage. Says Graham: "The reason these speeches matter and the reasons elections matter is because people now understand the role of the court in modern society when it comes to social change."

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) asked, "If the Supreme Court in the next few years holds that there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, would that be making the law or interpreting the law?" 

Sotomayor replies that Cornyn's question is basically a set-up and says that she would come to the issue with a completely open mind.

Watch both clips, AFTER THE JUMP...

(clips via hrcbackstory) HRC reports that several witnesses with anti-LGBT positions are slated for today's hearing.

Senator Lindsey Graham:

Senator John Cornyn:

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  1. you go, (u.s. supreme court) justice sotomayor! nail those bigoted repug hides to the wall.

    Posted by: nic | Jul 16, 2009 12:23:06 PM

  2. I think her mind is closed on that our benefit! :)

    Posted by: Matthew Rettenmund | Jul 16, 2009 12:30:53 PM

  3. how the heck do you watch the clips. can't get any buttons to respond. maybe i'm just dumb :)

    Posted by: kerry | Jul 16, 2009 12:33:49 PM

  4. I'm torn about whether this means anything or not. As a nominee, she can't discuss her substantive views on any issue that might come before the Court. The only real prospective issues that she has talked about (I think) have been privacy and abortion, both of which have lengthy precedent.

    Looking at what she did say and what she didn't say: she used the words "completely open mind", which is perhaps a little more emphatic than her average language regarding prejudgment. She didn't invoke any precedents on the issue; she mentioned yesterday that she wasn't so familiar with that line of cases. She says that the issue is very important and hotly debated, but she gives no reassurance that she will not "make law" (though she's already had to say that countless times, and it's a stupid distinction anyway).

    Posted by: Brian | Jul 16, 2009 12:34:25 PM

  5. I can't get them to work either.

    Posted by: Eshto | Jul 16, 2009 12:35:15 PM

  6. I can't get them to play either.

    Posted by: ZnSD | Jul 16, 2009 12:35:32 PM

  7. The clips do not work on my computer. And where the hell is the play button?

    Posted by: Tim in SF | Jul 16, 2009 12:36:45 PM

  8. Sorry for those of you who can't watch the CSPAN clips. It took a long time for them to load for me on the HRC site, and I don't think CSPAN's clip system is very hardy. With patience they might work. I'll try to find better clips but for now this is all we have.

    Posted by: andy | Jul 16, 2009 12:47:26 PM

  9. They work for me.

    Posted by: Roscoe | Jul 16, 2009 12:59:30 PM

  10. They appear to be fickle - on again, off again.

    Posted by: andy | Jul 16, 2009 1:00:33 PM

  11. A quick fix to playing these clips is to (1) click the left or right barb-shaped button, (2) click the x button that now appears in the lower right-hand corner, and (3) press what is now the play button (and was earlier the pause button).

    Posted by: Mark | Jul 16, 2009 1:01:14 PM

  12. thanks Andy. I don't see her being for or against us in this clip: her emphasis seems to be on taking the case in context and making an appropriate ruling. She sounds fair. Which is certainly better than the judges who let their personal faith sway their rulings on matters affecting social issues. Why aren't they ever held up to the same type of scrutiny "Will your personal faith influence your rulings? How can you be certain it won't?" Our culture is so incredibly hypocritical when it comes to religion and we end up the people who have to live with it, not them.

    Posted by: ZnSD | Jul 16, 2009 1:06:37 PM

  13. @KERRY,

    i've not been able to play videos on this site for a few days now. i've had to go to the source of the vids to watch them. it is quite a bother. perhaps ANDY or someone else might have a solution.

    Posted by: nic | Jul 16, 2009 1:20:08 PM

  14. What else is she going to say? I think it's anybody's guess how she'd rule on same-sex issues. We won't know....until.

    Posted by: JT | Jul 16, 2009 1:59:07 PM

  15. Clips dun't werk.
    Damn that C=SPAN video player!

    Posted by: rich | Jul 16, 2009 2:07:29 PM

  16. I have been following along as much as I can with this. Boy oh boy, she is one smart cookie who handles herself most deftly! Go Sonia!

    Posted by: RDUB | Jul 16, 2009 2:35:36 PM

  17. These hearings are so pointless. Just like all nominees since Bork, she essentially has to weasel out of answering questions on anything of relevance to current American life. They're wasting time, given the Democrats' majority and the admission by GOP that she'd have to prove herself batshit crazy to lose the nomination.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jul 16, 2009 4:08:51 PM

  18. Now if only Scalia went ahunting with Chaney.....ahh, I can only dream !

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Jul 16, 2009 5:17:55 PM

  19. Senator Graham's terminology "people who see the world like us", I find troubling. Beyond the condesention to someone who quite likely has an educational pedigree far beyond his own.. his "people who see the world like us" comment is confusing. Is he talking about social conservatives, Americans at large, Republicans, People from his home state, heterosexual men, Southerners? My point being America is made of a great many different types of "us", and respecting and valorizing those unique perspecitves is very much a tradition I hope Judge Sotomayor continues.

    Posted by: g_whiz | Jul 16, 2009 7:22:31 PM

  20. Based solely upon the above, I would have to favor a positive vote for MS. Sotomayor.

    There is no reason to grant special privileges to persons based solely upon their sexual orientation. Marriage is a privilege, why else would it be necessary to purchase a license.

    People repeatedly cite various court decisions as having placed marriage on a par with civil rights, but actually these decisions have simply limited the states right to unjustly interfere with the act of a man and a woman getting married to each other.

    Raising marriage to the level of a civil right would undermine the very structure of the institution. Granting something the status of a right automatically extends that coverage to all individual U. S. citizens and cannot justly be limited to those of one particular persuasion within our society.

    While our society has no right to prevent or interfere with it, our society also has no need to specifically condone, justify, recognize, or otherwise encourage relationships between same-sex couples.

    Posted by: dhoward4 | Jul 16, 2009 9:30:26 PM

  21. You know, listening to the Roberts hearings, I actually learned something. It was like graduate law school. Listening to So-So is like listening to a felon giving a statement to the cops that she don't know nuttin' and besides they can't pin it on her, and she won't do it no more.

    Posted by: runescape money | Jul 16, 2009 10:39:07 PM

  22. @DHOWARD4,

    i suppose that when you were rolling around in your daddy's balls and he spat the homunculus (which is you) into the incubator (that is your mom) and she, in turn, spit you out of her vagina, you would have had no rights -- unless, of course, they had paid the proper fees and signed the appropriate documents. after all, giving birth to cretins is a privilege, not a right.

    pardon me for saying so, but sophists like you are a dime a dozen on the interwebsssss. marriage as an institution, in the way rightists use the word, is malarkey. for eons, coupling between the earliest hominids to homosapians has been for mutual benefit. there was no sacred covenant, there was no contract. there was no government imprimatur.

    but here's the thing: if you want to argue solely on the basis of the 'institution' of marriage, then fine. the institution of marriage since modern civilizations -- the greeks and the romans, followed by the elizabethans (think henry VIII) has again, been one of mutual benefit and convenience.

    look it, i don't mean to give you a tutorial on "marriage" throughout the ages, but surely you must see how silly your argument is. when you say, "Granting something the status of a right automatically extends that coverage to all individual U. S. citizens and cannot justly be limited to those of one particular persuasion within our society", you are making the 'gay' case for it.

    as to RUNE$CAPE MONEY'$ opinion, well Mommy (Nancy), that says it all. don'it? you should apply that racist standard to thomas, scalia, and roberts. all of them dissembeled or lied. but, alas, "where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise."

    Posted by: nic | Jul 17, 2009 2:55:28 AM

  23. To NIC:

    Essentially we are all born with the same basic right, all of humanity. Some of us are lucky enough to be born into a country with a government such as that we enjoy here in the United States where those rights are actually codified and constitutionally protected (for the time being).

    Yes, pair-bonding has existed far longer than the concept of marriage or even any type of formal government. And yes, marriage was done for benefit and convenience; note I intentionally left out mutual. Not until only very recently in human history was there any mutuality involved, the female was a virtual slave, the property of her husband.

    As to making the "happy" case for it, you have not substantiated that marriage is a right nor have you shown any reason for society to condone or otherwise recognize same-sex relationships.

    I was unable to follow the referent topic in your last paragraph and it missed me completely. What has racism to do with this? Are we not ALL human and therefore of the same race?

    Posted by: dhoward4 | Jul 17, 2009 5:39:11 AM

  24. To NIC:

    Apologies I see that your final comment was directed elsewhere.
    My comment about humanity being a single race remains.
    I acknowledge that homosexuality exists, and not just in humans. This is not an issue for me.

    I simply disagree with the concept of sane-sex marriages or the formal recognition of same-sex domestic partners.
    Live together all you want. Copulate to your heart's content. It matters not to me.

    But marriage, regardless of what the arguments are all spinning around, is a financial arrangement. Same-sex marriages and formal recognition of same-sex pair bonds costs society at large money through the spousal supportive benefits bestowed.

    Businesses recognize same-sex domestic partners and then bestow spousal benefits to couples who, by the very nature of their relationship, are inherently and universally sterile and cannot ever produce offspring between themselves. Both should be working and earning their own benefits, but no, one of them can now draw upon the public cow The business raises prices to meet the added expense and whom do you suppose gets to pay that price increase?

    Government agencies recognize same-sex domestic partners and the same thing happens. Your, and my, tax dollars at work!

    Homosexual relationships do not help to further society or prolong its existence. They produce no new citizens and society has no need to consider them.

    Heterosexual relationships usually, though not always, will produce brand new citizens. Society has a need to recognize this distinctive factor. And society has the need to recognize the added burden offspring, born as an expected natural consequence of the heterosexual union, places upon the wage earner.

    Posted by: dhoward4 | Jul 17, 2009 6:31:03 AM

  25. i think its not cool. i am not agree with you it means i'm against the same sex.

    Posted by: cheap limo | Jul 17, 2009 6:57:53 AM

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