As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to rule on the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8, all eyes are on Justice Anthony Kennedy, the likely swing vote in the gay marriage cases.
Kennedy described the issue of gay marriage as "uncharted waters" when the court first heard arguments in March. He expressed support for gay rights as he has in the past but questioned the timing of a decision because "we have five years of information to weigh against 2,000 years of history or more." He also acknowledged that Proposition 8 causes the children of gay parents "immediate legal injury."
Three states and three countries have legalized gay marriage since March with more legislation pending, and the shift towards equality could influence the Justice who has previously cited world opinion and national consensus as reason to abolish the death penalty for juveniles.
"It is always possible that Justice Kennedy is reading the newspapers and is impressed with the progress," Michael Klarman, a Harvard University law professor, told the AP.