On Monday, the Supreme Court moved not to take up the issue of marriage equality and has delayed a broader federal ruling. In this move the Supreme Court also let stand the rulings of the Circuit Courts that had struck down same sex marriage bans in five states. The result is astounding— for the first time ever, the right to marry whomever you love has been effectively legalized for a majority of the United States population. While couples across the country crowded churches and courtrooms to say their vows, executive orders from officials directed state agencies to comply with the federal ruling.
Here are the states that were affected by Monday’s ruling:
On Tuesday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the state bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional, legalizing same-sex marriage in Idaho and Nevada. With each Circuit Court in charge of multiple states, legal experts expect the total number of states where same-sex marriage is allowed to soon grow to 35.
Here’s the timeline for events so far this week:
- Supreme Court let’s current Circuit Court rulings stand, legalizing same-sex marriage in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.
- The Colorado Attorney General says same-sex marriage will come to Colorado “once the formalities are resolved.”
- Virginia’s Governor directs his state’s agencies to comply with the federal ruling.
- The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals legalizes same-sex marriage in Idaho and Nevada.
- The Colorado Attorney General tells Colorado county clerks to begin issuing licenses to same-sex couples.
Currently, here is where same-sex marriage stands in each state:
The perspective on the Justice’s decision is that the Supreme Court is taking a wait and watch approach, while the country at large experiences same-sex marriage. The general opinion is that if the Supreme Court waits for a year or more, and if the Circuit Courts continue overturning state bans, it will be tough for the Justices to overturn what has effectively become law in most of the country.
As we’ve noted in previous posts on marriage equality, the speed of change in public and legal opinion means our nation has reached a decisive tipping point on this issue. It’s crazy to think that just two years ago, same-sex marriage was allowed in only seven states (with Vermont leading the way on that list!).
This has been a huge week, but the patchwork of federal and state acceptance, and benefits, there is still a major hurdle to be crossed. We’re definitely excited, but we won’t stop pursuing this issue until we get a definitive, national federal ruling.