The Supreme Court has chosen to stay out of the national debate regarding same-sex marriage. The justices denied all appeals brought before the court Monday, Oct. 5, leaving rulings by lower appellate courts intact. Effective immediately, Virginia, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oklahoma and Utah join the 19 other states and Washington, D.C. that have legalized same-sex marriage.
The decision will also legalize the same-sex marriage in another six states overseen by the lower courts, as judges must abide by rulings made by their overseeing appellate court. They include: North Carolina, South Carolina, Colorado, Wyoming, West Virginia and Kansas.
Charles Burt, president of UMKC Pride Alliance, welcomed the news.
[one_third last=”no”] A total of 31 states and Washington, D.C. have legalized same-sex marriage once the appellate courts issue final rulings regarding the bans in states within their districts. [/one_third]
“We are now at a point where states that allow same-sex marriage will soon be a majority and not just a small minority,” Burt said. “SCOTUS made the right decision in denying appeals; they realize that cases against same-sex marriage are losing arguments that [will] inevitably be irrelevant.”
Others have a more tempered view on the decision.
“I’m glad to see the progress, but we still have quite a ways to go,” said UMKC student Geri Miller.
On Oct. 9, U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled bans in Idaho and Nevada unconstitutional. Marriage licenses were issued to same-sex couples in Nevada, but following the ruling, officials in Idaho asked the Supreme Court to halt the judgment. The request was granted to Idaho by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who presides over appeals made by states in the 9th Circuit.
On Wednesday, Chief District Kevin Moriarty of Johnson County, Kan., ruled that the district county clerk can begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This ruling makes Johnson County the first place within the Kansas City metropolitan area to allow same-sex marriage.
No judgment has been made on the ban in Missouri, though a Jackson County judge ordered that the state must recognize marriages granted legally outside of the state. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, in light of the Supreme Court’s decision on Monday, stated he will not appeal the ruling.
A total of 31 states and Washington, D.C. have legalized same-sex marriage once the appellate courts issue final rulings regarding the bans in states within their districts. With 20 states with same-sex marriage bans still intact, many legal experts expect this issue will face the Supreme Court once again.