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Same-Sex Marriage Update

Last month, the United States Supreme Court declined to hear several cases brought by states seeking to keep same-sex marriage bans in place. By declining to hear these cases, the Supreme Court has implicitly paved the way for same sex marriages in five states. Same-sex marriage gets tacit victory from Supreme Court, by Ashley Fantz and Bill Mears, CNN, October 6, 2014. Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin appealed rulings in their respective states overturning bans on same sex marriages. The Supreme Court's refusal to hear these appeals essentially means that same sex marriage is legal in those states, as the state courts had ruled the gay marriage ban unconstitutional.

According to legal experts, this inaction by the Supreme Court could impact other states as well. The same circuit appeals courts from which these appeals arose also cover Colorado, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kansas, West Virginia and Wyoming. As such, these states may, too, have to soon lift their bans on same sex marriage and begin issuing marriage licenses. There would then be 30 states permitting same sex marriage - a clear majority in this country. (This number includes the states mentioned above and California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.)

Not surprisingly, outrage followed this decision on both sides of the debate. Even those who support same sex marriage would have preferred a definitive answer on the issue. Legal experts do believe a more definite answer is on the horizon, but that the Justices are just not quite ready to take it up. Certainly this is not a topic that is going away anytime soon and we will continue to keep you updated as the Supreme Court and the various states address the issue.


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