39 Questions

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A week before closing arguments in the Prop. 8 trial, Judge Vaughn Walker has given attorneys for the plaintiffs and defendants their homework. Walker directed 12 questions to each side and another 15 questions to both. Among the questions he wants supporters of gay marriage to address in their closing arguments: "Until very recently, same sex relationships did not enjoy legal protection anywhere in the United States. How does this fact square with the plaintiffs' claim that marriage between persons of the same sex enjoys the same status of a fundamental right entitled to constitutional protection?" And to the defendants: "What evidence in the record shows that same sex couples are differently situated from opposite-sex couples where at least one partner is infertile?" He asked both sides to ponder "what does it mean to have a choice in one's sexual orientation?" The judge's queries show how deeply involved he is in the intricacies of the case ... and how broadly he regards the questions it raises. This will not be a short or simple decision.

UPDATE:  On Tuesday both sides submitted answers to the judge's questions. They'll incorporate them into the roughly two hours they have for closing arguments. Both legal teams answered the 12 questions posed to each side plus the 15 questions addressed to both. For good measure attorneys for the plaintiffs also answered the 12 questions addressed to the defendants. Cheeky to be sure ... but a sign they're leaving no stone unturned.

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