Sixth Circuit Upholds Marriage Equality Bans

Written by scott on November 6th, 2014

Sixth Circuit

My friends, we have a circuit court split – the Sixth Circuit became the first in the nation to uphold a ban on same sex marriage.

The Washington Blade reports:

A federal appeals court on Thursday ruled that bans on same-sex marriage in each of the four states within its jurisdiction are constitutional, once again opening up the possibility for the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on the issue. In a 2-1 decision, a three-judge panel on the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that prohibitions on same-sex marriage in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee pass constitutional muster.

The 42-page majority opinion was written by U.S. Circuit Judge Jeffrey Sutton, an appointee of George W. Bush who was seen as the panel’s swing vote on marriage. Sutton bases much of the ruling on his determination that bans on same-sex marriage pass rational basis review and, much like he suggested during his questioning in oral arguments, that the democratic process should decide the marriage issue, not the courts.

“When the courts do not let the people resolve new social issues like this one, they perpetuate the idea that the heroes in these change events are judges and lawyers,” Sutton said. “Better in this instance, we think, to allow change through the customary political processes, in which the people, gay and straight alike, become the heroes of their own stories by meeting each other not as adversaries in a court system but as fellow citizens seeking to resolve a new social issue in a fair-minded way.”

Justice Ginsberg said recently that there was no reason for the Court to step in until and unless there was a split among the circuit courts. Will the Court now take another marriage equality case?

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