John Roberts Evokes ‘Political Force’ Of Gay Rights Lobbyists

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March 27, 2013 10:55 a.m.
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During oral arguments Wednesday on the Defense of Marriage Act, Chief Justice John Roberts said political figures are “falling over themselves” to back gay marriage and attributed the dramatic shift in public opinion to the “political force” of gay-rights lobbyists.

“I suppose the sea change has a lot to do with the political force and effectiveness of people representing, supporting your side of the case?” Roberts asked Roberta Kaplan, the lawyer pushing to overturn DOMA. “As far as I can tell, political figures are falling over themselves to endorse your side of the case.”

When she argued that the shift has been about a “moral understanding” of equality, Roberts pressed her to admit that “the lobby supporting the enactment of same sex-marriage laws in different States is politically powerful.” Kaplan again resisted, to which Roberts rejoined, “I understand that. I am just trying to see how — where that that moral understanding came from, if not the political effectiveness of a particular group.”

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