the supreme court on monday chose not to review previously banned same-sex marriage rulings in indiana, oklahoma, utah, virginia and wisconsin. the court's historic decision came without explanation; delaying the need to determine the constitutionality of gay marriage in all 50 states.
clerks in marion county, indiana and dane county, wisconsin began issuing licenses to same-sex couples before noon. the u.s. court of appeals for the fourth circuit issued an order to allow same-sex marriages to begin in virginia at 1:00 pm. colorado, oklahoma and utah were expected to follow suit as soon as the 10th circuit court of appeals ordered the states to issue licenses.
virginia governor terry mcauliffe said, "this is a historic and long overdue moment for our commonwealth and our country." james esseks, a lawyer who heads the american civil liberties union's legal efforts concerning gay marriage said,"i'm blown away by this. it is a watershed moment for the entire country."
despite the court's surprising decision to not take federal action, there are challenges to same-sex marriage in every state. two appeals courts - in cincinnati, and san francisco - have heard challenges and could rule at any time. furthermore, the court may still take up the issue later in this term after more states weigh in.
in june 2013 the court struck down part of the defense of marriage act, which denied federal recognition of same-sex marriages performed in states where it was legal. their decision didn't rule on whether state bans were unconstitutional, but a number of federal court decisions have since ruled the reasoning of the opinion written by justice anthony kennedy commands such a finding.
the split in federal and state courts since last year's ruling in u.s. vs. windsor has been 40 to 2: state prohibitions violate the constitution's guarantees of due process and equal protection. the windsor case was decided on a five-to-four vote, with justices stephen g. breyer, ruth bader ginsburg, elena kagen and sonia sotomayor joining kennedy.
however, it only takes four votes to grant review of lower court decisions. as such, one of those who voted no in the windsor case - chief justice john g. roberts, jr., and justices samuel a. alito, jr., antonin scalia and clarence thomas - were unwilling to force the court to take up the issue of same-sex marriage now.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.