CHICAGO (CBS) — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said Wednesday he remains hopeful that the Hoosier State’s ban on same-sex marriages will remain intact, despite blistering questions by the three-judge panel from the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher was the focus of the judges’ sharpest criticism Tuesday, particularly from Republican-appointed Judge Richard Posner; who frequently cut Fisher off, comparing laws against same-sex marriage to the Jim Crow-era laws against interracial marriage, and characterizing the Indiana law as “stupid.”
Despite the apparent hostility from the judges, Pence said he remains hopeful Indiana’s ban will be upheld.
“I’m just grateful that the attorney general is appealing the case, and taking the argument for Indiana’s state law all the way into the Court of Appeals,” Pence said during an unrelated event in Gary.
Pence said he expects the case to end up before the U.S. Supreme Court no matter what the outcome at the appellate level.
“I still hope that the court will side with the state’s ability to craft laws in this area,” Pence said.
Fisher Tuesday responded to the barrage of comments and criticism from the bench by saying there is a benefit to society from the law.
“All this is a reflection of biology,” Fisher said. “Men and women make babies, same-sex couples do not … we have to have a mechanism to regulate that, and marriage is that mechanism.”
State law prohibits same-sex marriage in Indiana, and it does not recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. The suits that led to Tuesday’s hearing contend the bans violate the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection guarantee. Other appeals courts have struck down same-sex marriage bans in Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia. The district court ruling striking down the Indiana law was stayed, pending the outcome of the appeal.
The appeals court also is considering a federal court ruling that struck down Wisconsin’s voter-approved constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in that state.