Justices Hear Arguments On Calif. Gay Marriage Ban

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An Athens resident says she hopes the U.S. Supreme Court heard the message of equality during the Court's first major examination of gay rights in 10 years.

Ginny Blakely, local member of Parents, Friends & Families of Lesbians And Gays (P-FLAG), says marriage equality is a multifaceted issue. 

"This is what I'm talking about when I talk about the movement and my excitement because this is going to be a landmark case and will get the ball rolling in so many other ways," she said. "LGBT people can finally have rights, not just marriage rights, but protection rights and work rights and adoption rights."

During oral arguments before the court Tuesday a lawyer seeking an end to California's ban on same-sex marriage compared it to bans on interracial marriages, a prohibition the Supreme Court declared illegal decades ago.

In charged back-and-forth exchanges with justices, lawyer Theodore Olson said the court should look to its 1967 Loving case, when the court invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage.

Chief Justice John Roberts told Olson that it seemed supporters of gay marriage were trying to change the meaning of the word "marriage" by including same-sex couples.

Justice Anthony Kennedy suggested that throwing out California's ban could take the Supreme Court into "uncharted waters." But Olson responded that the court did just that when it threw out bans on interracial marriage.

Any decision by the Court won't have an immediate impact on Ohio's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.  Supporters of marriage equality are fighting to reverse that ban.

In a recent interview with WOUB's Director and General Manager Tom Hodson, Jennifer Tyrrell who unexpectedly became another crusader in the gay rights movement after she was ousted from the Boy Scouts of America when it became known that she was a lesbian says the denial of marriage rights impacts the daily lives of same-sex couples.

"It causes a host of problems people probably don’t think about on a daily basis," she said. "Right now I’m sick and out of work and I don’t have insurance. If I was legally married, I would have insurance and that would be taken care of. There are so many things that people with the ability to get married take for granted because they don’t have to think about it."

The justices will issue their decision later this year.