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Marriage Equality Round-Up – Supreme Court Hearing

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

The US Supreme Court held hearings on marriage equality cases from four states yesterday. Here’s our round-up of what happened, how we got here, and what people are saying about it.

Background:

Record Number of Briefs: This week’s same-sex-marriage cases at the Supreme Court brought in a record number of friend-of-the-court briefs — 148 of them, according to the court, beating the previous record of 136 in the 2013 Obamacare case. full story

Ginsburg’s Role: MSNBC looks at how Ruth Bader Ginsburg helped pave the way for marriage equality. full story

Ohio Plaintiff Speaks Out: The Advocate has the video from Jim Obergefell, one of the plaintiffs who lost his husband after they married. full story

Americans Split on Ruling: Americans are evenly split on whether the Supreme Court should rule that same-sex marriage must be legal nationwide, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. full story

Outside the Court

Nine Signs Show Love is Winning: ThinkProgress was on hand to document the spectacle, including the many signs on display. full story

Nine Signs

More Photos from Outside: Joe.My.God has more photos from outside the Court and around the country, taken by Father Tony. full story

Photo by Father Tony

Even More Photos: Towleroad.com collected a bunch of photos from outside the Courthouse off of Twitter feeds. full story

Elizabeth Warren

Gay Men’s Chorus Sings: Adding to the circus-like atmosphere a Gay Men’s Chorus showed up to serenade the crowd. Hiot the link for the video. full story

GOP Senator Joins Marriage Equality Rally: Sen. Mark Kirk (Ill.) joined the rally yesterday, publically throwing his support behind marriage equality. full story

Same Sex Couples Take on Haters: If same-sex couples were stuck in an elevator with Justice Scalia, here is what they’d say to him. full story

Opponents Outside Ranted Non-Stop: Joe.My.God collects some of the videos of marriage equality opponents outside the Court. full story

Kochs fund Group Protesting at Court: Concerned Women for America, an organization that hosted an anti-gay marriage rally outside the Supreme Court this morning, has received the great majority of its funding in recent years from Freedom Partners, the “secret bank” of Charles and David Koch. full story

What the Protesters Said: A massive crowd appeared on the steps of the Supreme Court for Tuesday’s historic oral arguments over nationwide same-sex marriage. Here’s what some of them had to say. full story

The Hearing

What Happened Inside: The Advocate has a great rundown of what happened behind the closed doors of the Court today. full story

What Happened Inside II: SDGLN also has a run-down of the hearings. full story

Quotes from the Hearing: US News and World Report has gathered a bunch of quotes from the hearing. full story=

Protester Disrupts Hearing: An anti-gay protester interrupted the start of the U.S. Supreme Court hearings on marriage equality today, shouting “Homosexuality is an abomination!” full story

protester

Scalia Loves Lopez: @briantashman says that Scalia loved the brief from four children of same sex marriage opposing marriage equality. full story

Kennedy’s Telling Statements: Erin Fuchs looks art two telling statements Justice Kennedy made, one about how the current definition of marriage has been with us for millennia, and the other about affording dignity to same sex couples. full story

Surprising Questions from Roberts, Scalia: Erin Fuchs also looks at some of the tough questions two of the Courts’ conservatives had for opponents of marriage equality. full story

Ginsburg Takes Down Millennium Argument: During the hearing, Justice Ginsburg tackled the idea that because something has been around for so long, it should never be changed. full story

You Can’t “Un-Marry” Us: States would never try to ‘unmarry’ couples past childbearing age — so they shouldn’t be able to do the same to same-sex couples, argued pro-equality attorneys. full story

Early Reports: Chris Johnson tweeted a series of reports from the hearing ebncapsulating the Justices’ questions and thoughts. full story

Bonauto’s Closing Statement: Queerty flags Mary Bonauto’s “eloquent closing statement.” full story

Nine Most Awkward Moments: Politico rounds up the most awkward moments from the hearing. full story

Audio of Question One: Here is audio from Question 1 of the marriage arguments before the Supreme Court today: ” Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?” full story

Audio of Question Two: Here’s the audio from Question 2″ “Does the Fourteenth Amendment allow a state to refuse to recognize valid marriages performed out of state?” full story

Analyses:

Will We Become a Protected Class?: John Gallagher at Queerty looks at how the Justices might arrive at their decision. full story

Will John Roberts Vote Yes?: Trudy Ring at the Advocate asks the question. full story

Will John Roberts Vote Yes? II: In a telling moment at Tuesday’s Supreme Court arguments over same-sex marriage, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. suggested that he may have found a way to cast a vote in favor of the gay and lesbian couples in the case. full story

Inside Kennedy’s Head: Neal Broverman at The Advocate tries to figure out what Justice Kennedy is really thinking. full story

Expanded 14th Amendment?: Stephen Henderson at Detroit Free Press asks if the Court will expand the 14th Amendment? full story

Ari’s Analysis, Part One: Towleroad.com legal editor Ari Ezra Waldman listened to the hearing as the audio became available and issued a great series of analyses. Here’s the first one, on Question 1. full story

Ari’s Analysis, Part Two: Some additional notes on Question 1. full story

Ari’s Analysis, Part Three: Ari looks at the states’ arguments. full story

Ari’s Analysis, Part Four: Ari looks at the arguments on Question 2 – whether states must recognize valid marriages from other states. full story

Did State Lawyer Screw Up?: Ian Millhiser at Think Progress thinks one of the defense lawyers may have talked himself out of a victory. full story

Experts Predict the Outcome: The Detroit Free Press rounded up a number of expert views on the coming rulings. full story

From a Transgender Perspective: Stephanie Mott looks at the hearings from a transgender woman’s perspective. full story

Don’t Panic Over Kennedy’s Questions: Legal expert Anthony Michael Kreis says we shouldn’t freak out over Justice Kennedy’s questions about marriage equality and tradition. full story

Supporters’ Responses:

USA: Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has changed her 2016 presidential logo on social media outlets to rainbow ahead of the Supreme Court of the United States’ ruling on same-sex marriage. full story

Hillary Logo

17 Stars Tweeting for Marriage Equality: The Advocate profiles a bunch of celebrities who tweeted in support of marriage equality. full story

Queen Latifah for Marriage Equality: Queen Latifah spoke out for marriage equality and against homophobia in the black community. full story

AG Lynch Chimes In: Newly sworn-in Attorney General Loretta Lynch said “I am committed – as is this department – to ensuring equal dignity and equal treatment for all members of society, regardless of sexual orientation. As we argued today before the Supreme Court, same-sex couples deserve that treatment now.” full story

Opponents’ Responses:

This Will Never Be Over: FRC staffer Cathy Ruse says the fight will never be over, despite what the Court may say. full story

Christians Will Be Sent to Jail: Right wing anti-gay activist Janet Porter says marriage equality will send Christians to jail. full story

NOM Encouraged About Kennedy: NOM chairman John Eastman says he ius encouraged by the questioning from Justice Kennedy, especially his comment about marriage being the same for “millennia”. full story

Heritage Foundation Smells a Win: Ryan T. Anderson tweets “oral arguments at Supreme Court suggest Court will uphold man-woman marriage laws.” full story

Liberty Counsel Pledge to Disobey SCOTUS: Mat Staver at the Liberty Counsel wants all GOP presidential candidates to sign a pledge to disobey the Court’s ruling. Huckabee and Santorum have already signed. full story

Tweets from the Opponents: Queerty gathers a bunch of tweets from opponents of marriage equality, and they’re pretty out there. full story

Alabama in Turmoil After Marriage Equality Comes to State

Monday, February 9th, 2015

As the US Supreme Court declined to extend the stay on a Federal Judge’s ruling and as same sex couples started to marry in the state, opponents of marriage equality dug in their heels.

Things started off well enough, with many counties issuing licenses.

Joe.My.God reports:

According to local media it appears that the majority of Alabama’s 67 counties are issuing or prepared to issue same-sex marriage licenses. At this writing fewer than a dozen counties have confirmed that they are defying this morning’s order by the Supreme Court. Probate judges in several counties decided not to issue any marriage licenses at all – to same-sex or heterosexual couples. In some counties, including Butler County, Colbert County and Coosa County probate courts are taking marriage applications from all couples but not issuing licenses. In Coffee County, Jefferson County, Chilton County and Madison County, probate judges said they will issue marriage licenses to all couples, gay and straight, on Monday morning. Probate judges in other counties chose to follow the order issued late Sunday by Chief Justice Moore. Probate judges in Bibb County, Covington County, Cleburne County and Washington County decided not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Monday, but will still issue licenses to opposite-sex couples.

As the day wore on, more and more counties jumped on the anti-gay discrimination bandwagon.

Joe.My.God reports:

At the start of the day fewer than a dozen of Alabama’s 67 counties had been confirmed as refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses. It appears that number has now about tripled. Most of the counties contacted by AL.com this morning have suspended issuing all marriage licenses in the wake of conflicting rulings from a federal judge and the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. The majority of counties across the state have either suspended the issuance of all marriage licenses or are only accepting applications. Probate judges have said it is the best compromise for the moment, until they determine which order to follow. Other probate judges have said that they may change their policies within hours or days. Counties colored red are not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Those colored green are issuing licenses to all couples. Those shaded in yellow are not issuing any marriage licenses and those colored orange are only accepting applications, but issuing no licenses.

Alabama Map

The Governor was no help.

Towleroad reports:

“This issue has created confusion with conflicting direction for Probate Judges in Alabama. Probate Judges have a unique responsibility in our state, and I support them. I will not take any action against Probate Judges, which would only serve to further complicate this issue. We will follow the rule of law in Alabama, and allow the issue of same sex marriage to be worked out through the proper legal channels.”

And the Attorney General took up the Chief Justice’s contention that probate judges could turn away same sex couples.

On Top Magazine reports:

In responding to a decision by the Supreme Court not to stay two federal judge’s rulings striking down Alabama’s ban on gay marriage, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange suggested that probate judges do not have to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. Strange had asked the Supreme Court to delay Monday’s scheduled implementation of the rulings. In a 7-2 decision, the court denied Strange’s request.

The Human Rights Campaign called for the impeachment of Chief Justice Moore over his refusal to follow the federal court judgment.

The Dallas Voice reports:

The Human Rights Campaign has launched a petition to remove Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore from office. Moore urged the governor of Alabama and probate judges, who issue licenses in the state, to stand in the way of same-sex marriages despite an explicit order by a federal judge. The HRC petition calls on the Judicial Inquiry Commission to take action against Moore — who previously declared that homosexuality should be a punishable offense and grounds for losing parental custody — for shirking the law and the obligations of his office.

One of the plaintiff couples filed a contempt motion against the Mobile County probate judge for refusing to issue licenses.

Equality on Trial reports:

Mobile County, Alabama, is stalling in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The county has said there are some delays, and they’re not issuing licenses until those are worked out. They aren’t even opening the marriage license division. Attorneys for the couple who filed Searcy v. Strange have just filed a contempt motion requesting “an Order declaring the Honorable Don Davis to be in contempt, to further order law enforcement to open the marriage license division of Mobile County Probate Court, impose sanctions against the Honorable Don Davis, and any such further legal remedies this Court deems appropriate and just, the premises considered.”

The motion was promptly swatted down by a federal judge.

Joe.My.God reports:

“Probate Judge Don Davis is not a party in this case and the Order of January 23, 2015, did not directly order Davis to do anything. Judge Davis’s obligation to follow the Constitution does not arise from this court’s Order. The Clarification Order noted that actions against Judge Davis or others who fail to follow the Constitution could be initiated by persons who are harmed by their failure to follow the law. However, no such action is before the Court at this time.”

The couple responded with an amended complaint against pretty much everyone in Mobile County government.

Joe.My.God reports:

Mobile lawsuit

The Supreme Court’s decision to not extend the stay reinforces the trend they started in Florida.

USA Today reports:

The Supreme Court will decide whether to allow same-sex marriage nationwide later this year. But it’s leaving little doubt which way it’s leaning. The latest evidence came Monday, when the high court denied Alabama’s request that gay marriages be blocked while the state appeals a federal judge’s ruling that allowed gays and lesbians to wed. That was the same decision the justices reached in Florida two months ago, allowing the Sunshine State to become the 36th in the nation where same-sex marriage is legal. Alabama now becomes the 37th.

In one bit of excellent news, Paul Hard, a gay man who has been embroiled in a legal fight against his deceased husband’s mother as she tries to steal her son’s estate won the latest round.

Towleroad reports:

The state of Alabama has issued Hard a new death certificate for Fancher, this time listing Fancher as his husband. Said Hard, “Getting David’s death certificate was emotional. Just to finally see the wording on there that at the time of his death he was married, and he was married to me, corrects a hurtful wrong.”

This will make it much harder for the evil mother-in-law to get her hands on her son’s estate.

We’ll leave you with this cartoon, which draws a great parallel between the hateful men blocking the door to marriage equality and their counterparts in an earlier era.

Cartoon Birmingham News

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Alabama.

A Best-Case, Worst-Case Look at the Supreme Court’s Options

Monday, January 26th, 2015

US Supreme Court Color

In just a few months, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in four marriage equality cases, and while it’s impossible to accurately predict how the nine justices may rule, it’s also impossible to avoid speculating. This much is certain: Whatever the court decides will be the most important turning point ever seen in the marriage equality battle — and will radically alter the lives of millions of people.

What Exactly Will the Court Decide?

The court is going to focus on two questions, asking attorneys on both sides to address the inquiries with the merits of their individual cases. Those questions are:

Does the Constitution require states to issue licenses to same-sex couples?

Does the Constitution require states to recognize out-of-state marriage licenses from jurisdictions with marriage equality?

These questions may seem straightforward, but the court’s answer could be (and probably will be) more than just a yes or no. When the justices rule, a complex decision could settle those questions while also providing detailed guidance for future litigation. That’s one reason why it’s so hard to predict: there are an infinite number of ways the justices can answer even the simplest of questions.

Authored By Matt Baume – See the Full Story at The Advocate

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There’s No Guarantee the Supreme Court Will Take Another Marriage Equality Case

Monday, November 10th, 2014

US Supreme Court Color

Now that a dissident federal appeals court has upheld same-sex marriage bans in four states, legal commentators say intervention by the U.S. Supreme Court — to resolve the conflicts among lower courts and set a uniform constitutional standard on the right to marry — is very likely. But it’s not inevitable.

The court faced another set of conflicting lower-court rulings on marital rights in 1955. The issue then was interracial marriage. When Virginia’s highest court upheld the state’s ban on whites marrying nonwhites — seven years after the California Supreme Court had become the nation’s first state to strike down a prohibition on interracial marriage — the ruling was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which under Chief Justice Earl Warren had declared school segregation unconstitutional the previous year. The court’s rules at the time required it to accept and decide such cases if they involved constitutional rights. But the justices found a way to sidestep the Virginia case, heeding the advice of Justice Felix Frankfurter that another incendiary racial decision could result in “thwarting or seriously handicapping the enforcement” of the school desegregation ruling. It wasn’t until 1967, in another Virginia case, that the court finally declared bans on interracial marriage unconstitutional, overturning laws in 16 states.

“The court chose to wait until national opinion was clearly on its side,” R. Richard Banks, a constitutional law professor at Stanford Law School, said Friday. “In the same-sex marriage context, it seems clear which way we’re moving. … The court might be content to let things percolate for another year, or two or three. Then there might be more support for a judicial ruling than there is now.”

Authored By Bob Egelko – See the Full Story at SFGate

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Marriage Equality: What’s Going On in Kansas

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

KansasKansas is one of the last hold-outs on marriage equality in the group of states affected by the US Supreme Court’s non-decision earlier this week. Here’s what’s going on there.

Johnson County started the ball rolling Tuesday, accepting applications for marriage licenses. LGBTQ Nation reports:

So far, only Johnson County has announced plans to issue licenses to gay couples. The county could be poised to issue the state’s first same-sex marriage license as soon as Friday, two days after Chief District Judge Kevin Moriarty ruled the county could no longer deny the applications. Kansas has a three-day waiting period before licenses can be granted, but although Moriarty issued his ruling Wednesday, the county accepted one application Tuesday from a same-sex couple, said Sandy McCurdy, the county’s court clerk. By late Thursday afternoon, the county had accepted 42 applications.

Also Tuesday, the Kansas Office of Judicial Administration suggested that counties let judges make the determination. LGBTQ Nation reports:

Some counties initially refused to even hand out marriage license paperwork to same-sex couples until the lawyer for the Kansas Office of Judicial Administration sent an email Tuesday to chief judges suggesting that counties accept the applications and noted that litigation was likely. “My recommendation is that judges, not clerks, make the decision to grant or deny a marriage license under existing Kansas law, rather than requiring a district court clerk to do so and then be required to defend a civil lawsuit,” said the email from Martha Coffman.

On Wednesday, a district court judge told clerks and judges in the state to start issuing licenses to same sex couples. LGBTQ Nation reports:

…[on Wednesday] district court Chief Judge Kevin Moriarty directed clerks and other judges to begin issuing licenses to same-sex couples – even though the Kansas Constitution bans gay marriage under a provision voters approved in 2005. Moriarty acted after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear appeals from five other states seeking to preserve their gay-marriage bans.

On Thursday, Riley County accepted a marriage license from a same sex cuple, only to have a judge turn it down Friday. LGBTQ Nation reports:

A Kansas judge has denied a marriage license for a same-sex couple who said their application had been accepted with open arms a day earlier. KMAN-AM reports that Darcie Bonhenblust and her partner, Joleen Hickman, found out Friday morning their application had been denied. The two say the Riley County clerk told them Thursday when they filed their application there was a three-day waiting period and they could come back Tuesday to pick up their license. But on Friday morning they received an order from Judge Meryl Wilson denying the license.

By Friday, Johnson County actually handed out a marriage license to one couple. LGBTQ Nation reports:

A court office in Kansas’ most populous county issued a marriage license Friday to a gay couple, believed to be the first such license in the state. Liz Dickinson, a member of the gay-rights group Equality Kansas, said she was at the county courthouse Friday when the couple received their license. The Johnson County District Court clerk’s office confirmed that a license was issued. The clerk declined to identify the couple.

The couple quickly married, becoming the only legally married same sex couple in the state. Gay Star News reports:

According to the Associated Press, the Johnson County newlyweds are identified only Kelli and Angela. The women asked to be identified only by their first names to help protect their privacy. The marriage took place in Johnson County after Chief Judge Kevin Moriarty directed other judges and court clerks to approve marriage licenses for gay couples. The ceremony was officiated by the couple’s pastor at the courthouse in Olathe, Kansas, and after they exchanged vows, the women both returned to work. ‘Kelli and Angela are grateful for the outpouring of congratulations, well-wishes, and support from around our great state and nation,’ the Kansas Equality Coalition said in a statement.

Also on Friday, the Kansas Attorney General asked the state Supreme Court to block the issuance of any more licenses. Towleroad.com reports:

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has asked the state Supreme Court to stop gay marriages from taking place in Johnson County – the state’s most populous county… “The Johnson County Court’s decision is an outlier,” Schmidt said in a statement accompanying his filing. “Numerous other Kansas Courts have concluded, as I have, that the law in Kansas remains unchanged and same-sex marriage remains unlawful unless and until a Court of competent jurisdiction, deciding a properly presented case or controversy, holds otherwise as a matter of federal constitutional law. Because that has not happened, I have concluded the Judge’s decision to order the issuance of licenses is unlawful and I now have no choice but to ask the Kansas Supreme Court to set it aside.”

The Kansas Supreme Court complied with the request, putting everything on hold for now. NBC News reports:

The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday ordered a clerk in that state to stop issuing same-sex marriage licenses, after a lower court judge allowed them after other courts struck down bans on gay marriage similar to the one in Kansas. The state Supreme Court Friday evening granted a request by the Kansas attorney general that the marriage licenses be put on hold, but allowed clerks to accept applications for licenses.

SF Gate has more details:

…the victory for supporters of the Kansas Constitution’s ban on gay marriage could be short-lived. The state’s highest court signaled in its brief order that it has questions about whether the ban is permissible under recent federal court rulings, and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn it… The state’s highest court blocked the granting of further marriage licenses for gay couples “in the interest of establishing statewide consistency,” said its order, signed by Chief Justice Lawton Nuss. But the court cited recent federal court decisions striking down other states’ bans and said it would consider arguments on whether the ban remains permissible under the U.S. Constitution. The court set a hearing for Nov. 6 — two days after the general election.

Governor Sam Brownback, fighting for his political life in the state, reiterated his support for the ban. SDGLN reports:

Embattled Gov. Sam Brownback, a far-right Republican fighting for re-election, said in a statement that he would uphold the state constitution. Voters amended the state constitution to ban gay marriage. Brownback and Schmidt are waging a fruitless battle to stop gay marriages because of the 10th Circuit ruling, which the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday let stand as the law. Critics say they are playing politics in an election year and wasting taxpayer money to fight a losing cause.

So now we wait to see which gets there first – the Supreme Court hearing or the Federal one.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Kansas.

Marriage Equality: What’s Going On in North Carolina

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

North Carolina MapNorth Carolina is another of the states that was impacted by the Supreme Court’s rejection of the Virginia case. Here’s what’s happening there.

There are two cases in the state that could bring down the ban once and for all. The News Observer reports:

Two federal judges – one in Asheville and another in Greensboro – have cases before them that could nullify North Carolina’s constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. News of a possible ruling in either case late Wednesday afternoon sent same-sex couples across the state to county offices with hopes of getting a marriage license and being a part of North Carolina history.

Stays in both cases were lifted. NBC reports:

A federal judge has lifted stays on two American Civil Liberties Union lawsuits that could clear the way for same-sex marriages in North Carolina. Judge William Osteen of the federal Middle District in Greensboro on Wednesday lifted a stay in two cases involving same-sex couples who wish to marry. Mike Meno, a spokesman for the ACLU of North Carolina, told WNCN that Osteen asked for a motion from the ACLU on the gay marriage issue. Meno said the ACLU expects Osteen to rule that gay North Carolinians may marry as soon as late Wednesday afternoon or Thursday. Federal courts generally close at 5 p.m., so Meno said the ACLU lawyers were working urgently to get a motion to the court in Greensboro.

But o rulings have been handed down yet. The News Observer reports:

In Wake County, Chad Biggs, 35, a sheriff’s deputy, was working inside the Justice Center in downtown Raleigh when he learned that marriage licenses might be available soon to same-sex couples. “I got the news, and I was the first one to rush here,” Biggs said. “This is historic, a truly memorable time for North Carolina.” But history did not happen before the register of deeds office closed for the day. There were no rulings on the ban from the federal courts in North Carolina before 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The GOP in the state is not giving up, yet:

Phil Berger, the N.C. Senate president pro tem, and Thom Tillis, the speaker of the N.C. House, said they planned to hire outside counsel and try to become parties in the lawsuits. By late Wednesday, though, the legislative leaders had not submitted court documents asking a judge to allow them to intervene.

So now we wait for the ruling or rulings.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in North Carolina.

Supreme Court Could Choose a Marriage Equality Case Tomorrow

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

US Supreme Court ColorTomorrow is the first day the US Supreme Court could actually choose a case or cases in the marriage equality fight this year.

NBC News reports:

The justices, who will meet in a closed-door conference on Monday, will consider whether to hear any of three same-sex marriage lawsuits during the next term, which officially starts Oct. 6. If they decide to review one or more of the cases, a ruling could be reached by July on whether same-sex marriage must be allowed nationwide. If they choose not to hear the cases, the decision would allow gay nuptials in the ten states covered by the three lawsuits. The court could also wait for a circuit court to disagree with the others and support the state bans. The justice have until January 2015 to make their decision. Both opponents and supporters of gay marriage predict that the justices will hear at least one of the cases.

Which case do you think they will take, if any? Utah, Oklahoma, or Virginia?

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Will the US Supreme Court Pick a Marriage Equality Case Monday?

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

US Supreme Court ColorWill the US Supreme Court take up one (or more) of the marriage equality cases that have been appealed to it? They may decide Monday.

The Washington Blade reports:

For the first conference of its upcoming term on Monday, the court has docketed five cases seeking marriage equality for which petitions for certiorari have been filed: Kitchen v. Herbert, the Utah case; Bishop v. Smith, the Oklahoma case; Bostic v. Schaefer, the Virginia case; Wolf v. Walker, the Wisconsin case; and Baskin v. Bogan, the Indiana case. It takes a vote of four justices out of the nine to grant certiorari (or decide to take up a case) for any particular case. Most observers expect the Supreme Court to take up one or more of the cases to decide an issue with such nationwide importance as marriage equality, but justices are under no obligation to take up a case and may well hold off on a decision until a later conference.

Do you think the Court will take a case now, or wait?

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What Happens if the Supreme Court Doesn’t Take a Marriage Equality Case?

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Matt BaumeAlthough it seems unlikely, it’s possible the US Supreme Court will decline to take any of the marriage equality cases before it this year. So what happens then?

Matt Baume at the Advocate explains:

It’s hard to imagine, but the court could choose to deny a writ of certiorari for the petitions currently pending and anticipated over the next few months. If it did so, the impact would be immediate and huge. The most significant effect would be the lifting of stays in states where marriage bans have been overturned. Courts had imposed those stays pending final resolution of the cases at the Supreme Court as a last resort. Without that last resort, pro-marriage equality rulings would become the law of the land in Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Indiana. Those states alone would account for a massive surge in the number of Americans in marriage equality states. The population of those states adds up to a little over 27 million people. But it wouldn’t stop there. The victories in those states were at the appellate circuit level, which means the rulings would become precedent in neighboring states encompassed by the circuit as well.

Basically, marriage equality would become the law of the land immediately or shortly thereafter for about 65 million people, in the following states: Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. And if the expected Ninth Circuit ruling is favorable, add Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, and Nevada to that list.

By my count, that pushes the total to 35 states, well over a majority of the country.

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US Supreme Court Could Choose a Marriage Equality Case As Early As Today

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

US Supreme Court ColorThe US Supreme Court could decide to take one or more of the marriage equality cases as early as today, or they could wait as long as January to decide.

ScotusBlog reports:

With lawyers moving very rapidly, the number of appeals to the Supreme Court on same-sex marriage rose on Tuesday to seven, as state officials in Indiana and Wisconsin separately challenged a federal appeals court ruling against their bans, and lawyers for the couples planned to file immediate replies. The new cases landed at the Court five days after that decision; the states had the option of taking ninety days to file. Along with the two new filings, the Court has awaiting it individual petitions on the issue from Oklahoma and Utah and three from Virginia. In all of the cases, both sides and a lengthening list of “friends of the Court” have agreed that the Court should take on the constitutional controversy now. The Court may indicate as early as tomorrow which of the seven cases, if any, will be considered by the Justices at their first Conference of the new Term, on September 29… If the Court opts to take on the controversy anytime up to mid-January, a final ruling could be expected before the new Term is completed late next June.

My totally uneducated guess is that they’ll make us wait for a while.

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