Judges question attorneys at gay marriage hearing

KRISTI EATON NICHOLAS RICCARDI Associated Press Published:

DENVER (AP) -- A judge in Colorado who will play a pivotal role deciding whether gays should be allowed to wed in the United States sharply questioned whether Oklahoma can legally prevent the marriages.

Jerome Holmes is one of three judges on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals who is hearing arguments from attorneys Thursday about the state's gay marriage ban. A lower court overturned the ban.

Holmes indicated during the hearing that states cannot define marriage in a way that would "trample constitutional rights."

His line of questioning could be good news for gay marriage advocates because Holmes is viewed as the swing vote on the panel.

Whatever the 10th Circuit panel rules will inevitably be appealed. Attorneys expect the U.S. Supreme Court to have the final word on gay marriage.