Government and Law

Supreme Court decision means same-sex marriage in more states

Michigan is one of 20 states still waiting for the issue to be resolved.

October 10, 2014
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Last week the Supreme Court declined to hear all five of the pending same-sex marriage cases put before it, which means the lower court rulings in those states stand.

“The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the pending appeals from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin regarding same-sex marriage is a triumph for marriage equality,” said Stephanie Myott, attorney at Rhoades McKee.

“As a result of the Court’s rejection of those appeals, any delays on the ability of same-sex couples in those states to marry have immediately ended,” she said.

In addition to those five states, same-sex marriage will become a reality in Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming because those states are bound by the same appellate rulings.

“Same-sex marriage will now be legal in 30 states and the District of Columbia,” Myott said.

The remaining 20 states, including Michigan, are continuing to see cases move through state and federal courts.

“The Supreme Court’s decision on Monday could be a win for marriage equality in Michigan and in the other states with pending cases before the Sixth Circuit, i.e., Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky,” Myott said.

That is because many see the Supreme Court’s decision as a message to the lower courts that if a same-sex marriage case does make it to its chambers, the Court would rule in favor of same-sex marriage.

There is some speculation that the Sixth Circuit could be the first federal appellate court to rule in favor of upholding the same-sex marriage ban.

“To date, every federal appellate court that has considered same-sex marriage bans has found such bans to be unconstitutional,” Myott said. “If a federal appellate court, such as the Sixth Circuit, upholds a ban on same-sex marriage, resulting in a state split, the Supreme Court would most likely step in at that point to hear the case, as there would be discrepancy between the states in need of resolution.”

A ruling by the Sixth Circuit is expected any day now.

“If the Sixth Circuit rules in favor of the plaintiffs, then same-sex marriage will be a reality for same-sex couples living in Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky,” Myott said.

“There are thousands of same-sex couples living in Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky who are married — such as my clients, Bruce Morgan and Brian Merucci, who have sued Gov. Rick Snyder for recognition of their New York marriage — or wish to marry, and whose constitutional rights will be implicated by the Sixth Circuit’s decision. They no doubt would like a swift ruling so that their marriages or their constitutionally protected right to marry are no longer in legal limbo.”

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