Gay Marriage

States to Supreme Court: Figure Out Gay Marriage for Us, Please


Anything to move us past the "fairy tale" motif.
Credit: joseanavas / photo on flickr

On Wednesday a federal judge in Louisiana upheld the state's ban on gay marriage recognition. On Thursday, a federal appeals court panel unanimously struck down Wisconsin's and Indiana's bans on gay marriage. It's been that kind of week.

Now, in two separate briefs, groups of state leaders are asking the Supreme Court to deal with it for them. From the Associated Press:

Fifteen states that allow gay marriage, led by Massachusetts, filed a brief asking the justices to take up three cases from Virginia, Utah and Oklahoma and overturn bans. And 17 other states, led by Colorado, that have banned the practice asked the court to hear cases from Utah and Oklahoma to clear up a "morass" of lawsuits, but didn't urge the court to rule one way or another.

Celebrations Thursday over the latest legal victory for gay couples seeking to get married were tempered knowing that the bigger — and final — battle rests with the high court.

Same-sex marriage is legal in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Bans that have been overturned in some other states continue to make their way through the courts. Since last year, the vast majority of federal rulings have declared same-sex marriages bans unconstitutional.

As Damon Root noted on Wednesday, the ruling in Louisiana was the first time in this current parade of cases where a federal judge has upheld a gay marriage ban, stating that changes in the law should come through democratic means. That's a preview of what Supreme Court justices who favor letting states decide are likely to say in their ruling should they take a case. Whether they'll be in the majority or minority is another question.