Lincoln man shows off gay pride at Supreme Court hearing - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Lincoln man shows off gay pride at Supreme Court hearing

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By: Megan Palera

The Supreme Court's first major examination of gay rights in 10 years is under way. The justices heard oral arguments Tuesday on California's Prop 8 - an amendment to the state's constitution banning same-sex marriage.

As demonstrators on both sides filled the steps of the nation's capitol, Scott Ballentine of Lincoln is showing off his pride. He traveled the 1,200 miles to Washington, D.C. to be a part of history.

"I never thought this would happen in my lifetime. I thought, I wanted to be on the right side of history and be here for it," Ballentine said.

Ballentine is hopeful the Supreme Court will strike down Prop 8. But the nine justices are very divided over the issue. The liberal justices questioned the rationale for restricting gays and lesbians from marrying. The conservative justices wondered how same-sex marriage could be a right guaranteed under the constitution.

Justice Anthony Kennedy - who could be the deciding vote - expressed empathy for children with gay parents.

"The voices of these children - 40,000 children. They want their parents to have full recognition," Kennedy said.

Ballentine couldn't agree more. He says now is the time for change.

"I see other countries moving in this direction, even countries with very strong Catholic backgrounds like Spain and some of the South American countries. So, we're moving in that direction," Ballentine said.

Wednesday, in a separate case, the justices consider a law that denies federal benefits to same-sex couples who are legally married in their states.

Justice Kennedy suggested Tuesday that the court dismiss Prop 8 with no ruling at all. Final decisions on these issues, if they're made, won't be released for months.

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