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Justices indicate interest in narrow ruling on gay marriage in landmark hearing


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supreme-court-to-hear-arguments-in-gay-marriage-cases-that-could-haveFox News:

Several Supreme Court justices indicated they might lean toward issuing a narrow ruling on gay marriage during a landmark hearing Tuesday on California's same-sex marriage ban, even as lawyers for the plaintiffs argued for legalizing the unions nationally.

The case heard Tuesday, the first of two gay-marriage cases the high court is weighing this week, centered on California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage but could have national implications. If the justices choose to rule broadly, they could overturn Prop 8 and in doing so invalidate every other restriction on gay marriage in the country.

But the justices suggested Tuesday they could decide the case without issuing a ruling that ripples through all 50 states.

Several justices, including some liberals who seemed open to gay marriage, raised doubts Tuesday that the case was properly before them. Justice Anthony Kennedy, the potentially decisive vote on a closely divided court, suggested that the court could dismiss the case with no ruling at all.

Such an outcome would almost certainly allow gay marriages to resume in California but would have no impact elsewhere.

Click to listen to the Supreme Court arguments in the Prop 8 case.

Kennedy said he feared the court would go into "uncharted waters" if it embraced arguments advanced by gay marriage supporters. But lawyer Theodore Olson, representing two same-sex couples, said that the court similarly ventured into the unknown in 1967 when it struck down bans on interracial marriage in 16 states.



Treading cautiously.

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