Monday, October 6, 2014

A quiet earthquake for marriage equality

When from out of the blue
And without any guide,
You know what your decision is....
Which is not to decide
          "On the Steps of the Palace", Stephen Sondheim
The Supreme Court today denied certiori to seven different cases involving marriage equality.  By denying cert, the court essentially says that the decisions from the lower courts stand.  This may be because those lower courts all agreed with each other, and have been falling all over themselves to find for equality.  Without a disagreement between the lower courts, there's not a conflict that requires the Supreme Court to solve.  This suits the Court, which prefers to let trends get hammered out by the states before taking a step.  

So this decision not to decide brings marriage to Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and Utah.

I know, Utah.  Right?  (After what they did to us in CA it's hard not to enjoy this....)

But wait, there's more! 

The decisions came from the 4th, 7th, and 10th circuit courts of appeal, which means that other states that still have bans in those circuits are also affected, giving a total of 11.  
  • 4th: Virginia , West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
  • 7th:Wisconsin, Indiana 
  • 10th: Utah, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Colorado, and Kansas as well.
THinkProgress gives us the map.  Potentially 30 states will have equality, and 60% of the population.

It is possible (or even likely) that one of the remaining circuits will uphold a marriage ban, as those circuits tend to have more conservative judges.  And that may be the case that the Supreme Court eventually takes.

As always, the most detailed information can be found at Scotusblog.

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