Federal court to hear arguments on gay marriage from 4 states

CINCINNATI, Ohio (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A federal appeals court will hear arguments in gay marriage fights from four states, including Michigan, Wednesday.

This is the largest session of its kind so far and could help decided the gay marriage fight in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati will consider arguments in the cases.

Attorneys on both sides in the Michigan and Ohio cases will go first and get a half-hour each to make their cases.

Kentucky and Tennessee will follow, with 15 minutes for each side from both states.

The cases pit states' rights and traditional, conservative values against what plaintiffs' attorneys say is a fundamental right to marry under the U.S. Constitution.

Here in Michigan, more than 300 same-sex couples were married in March after a Detroit federal judge ruled Michigan's ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional.

But a stay was put in place hours later and those marriages have been in limbo ever since.

Those on both side of the issue rallied in Cincinnati Tuesday night. Hundreds plan to be at the court house during the arguments.

"I feel it shouldn't be a political issue and it's personal choice. All for it in that respect," said Gary Clemmons.

"Whether I chose a mustache is my choice, how you live is a choice but does not mean you get to redefine marriage," said Charles Tassell from Citizens for Community Values.

"We may get a positive decision and it may be appealed. A long haul but a big step," said Lynn Lefebvre. "No matter what happens expect stays and appeals to the Supreme Court."

The 6th Circuit Court is the first of three federal appeals courts to hear arguments from multiple states.

If they decide against gay marriage, that would create a divide among federal appeals courts and put pressure on the U.S. Supreme Court to settle the issue for good in its 2015 session.