In an odd legal juxtaposition, the Supreme Court hears oral arguments prior to a May 12th court date in Omaha when the 8th United States Court of Appeals hears oral arguments in a similar Nebraska case. A federal judge struck down the state ban on same-sex marriage. Nebraska has appealed.
Peterson sees little difference in the constitutional amendments in four states before the Supreme Court that ban same-sex marriage.
“It’s a situation which all five states are trying to say that they have the ability to define marriage and that it’s not one controlled by federal law,” Peterson tells Nebraska Radio Network.
The Supreme Court has combined a number of cases under the umbrella of Obergefell v. Hodges.
The 6th District United States Court of Appeals upheld same-sex marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee, ruling any change in the definition of marriage should come through the democratic process.
In a 2013 ruling called U.S. v. Windsor, the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act that withheld federal recognition of same-sex marriage. It also cleared the way for same-sex marriages in California, despite a voter approved prohibition.
Peterson says the court must answer a simple, yet profound question in the case before it today.
“Does the U.S. Constitution suggest that marriage between a same-sex couple is a fundamental constitutional right? If it is, then it trumps any state right to define marriage.”
It also would trump any ruling by the 8th Circuit in the Nebraska case.
The 8th circuit stopped the ruling by U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon striking down Nebraska’s definition of marriage from going into effect until it can decide the case.
The 8th Circuit has scheduled oral arguments May 12th in Omaha in cases asking the court to strike down bans on same-sex marriage in South Dakota, Missouri, Arkansas, as well as Nebraska.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:55]