CINCINNATI - Three federal judges weighing arguments in a landmark gay marriage hearing Wednesday peppered attorneys on both sides with tough questions, with one judge expressing deep skepticism about whether courts are the ideal setting for major social change and another saying the democratic process can be too slow.
The judges in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals considered arguments in six cases from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, setting the stage for historic rulings in each state that would put more pressure on the U.S. Supreme Court to decide the issue once and for all. Wednesday's hearing was the biggest so far on the issue.
While questions and comments from two of the judges all but gave away how they'll rule, one in favor of gay marriage and one opposed, Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton vigorously challenged some of each side's assertions.
Sutton repeatedly questioned attorneys for the same-sex couples whether the courts are the best place to legalize gay marriage, saying that the way to win Americans' hearts and minds is to wait until they're ready to vote for it.
Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey, a Bill Clinton nominee, said that historically, courts have had to intervene when individual constitutional rights are being violated.