WSJ: Notable & Quotable From Supreme Court Case Of Hollingsworth V. Perry


Justice Sotomayer: Mr. Olson, the bottom line that you're being asked -- and -- it is one that I'm interested in the answer:

If you say that marriage is a fundamental right, what State restrictions with respect to the number of people, with respect to--that could get married -- the incest laws, the mother and child, assuming that they are the age -- I can -- I can accept that the State has probably an overbearing interest on - on protecting a child until they're of age to marry, but what's left?

Mr. Olson: Well, you've said -- you've said in the cases decided by this Court that the polygamy issue, multiple marriages raises questions about exploitation, abuse, patriarchy, issues with respect to taxes, inheritance, child custody, it is an entirely different thing.

And if you -- a State prohibits polygamy, it's prohibiting conduct. If it prohibits gay and lesbian citizens from getting married, it is prohibiting their exercise of a right based upon their status....

Justice Kennedy: The problem -- the problem with the case is that you're really asking, particularly because of the sociological evidence you cite, for us to go into uncharted waters, and you can play with that metaphor, there's a wonderful destination,it is a cliff.