A 6th Circuit Court of Appeals judge exploded on the lawyer defending Tennessee's same-sex marriage ban yesterday. "What is the point?" of the law she demanded, when heterosexual couples would marry and procreate with or without it.
On Wednesday, a three-judge panel from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals held a marathon hearing of six same-sex marriage cases from four states. Toward the end of oral arguments in the Tanco v. Haslam hearing, one judge seemed to erupt in frustration.
As the attorney for the state of Tennessee was rebutting arguments made by the attorney for the three same-sex couples, one of the judges interrupted.
Tennessee's state attorney told the court that "including opposite-sex couples," in marriage laws, "furthers the state's interest, because it's opposite-sex couples who are having the children, that we're concerned about."
The judge was not going to have it.
"And they're going to go on having those children, they're going to go on getting married, they're going to go on having children. It's happening in 21 states where same-sex marriages are allowed. I'm sorry, I'm struggling too. I just don't quite get the picture. There's nothing about this that has stopped any heterosexual couple from getting married," the judge stormed, apparently pounding papers on the bench as she spoke. "Discouraged them from getting married. Kept them from procreating -- deliberately or accidentally. What are we dealing with here?"
"If you didn't have in Tennessee," the judge continued, "a law or a constitutional amendment outlawing, forbidding same-sex marriages, people would still get married, they would still procreate -- deliberately or accidentally. Life would go on just the way it has gone on. What is the point?"
Listen -- forward to about the 25:30 mark:
Image and audio via Freedom To Marry