The Supreme Court on Thursday released a partial list of cases that it will hear in its upcoming term. The same-sex marriage cases pending across the US, including ones from Indiana and Wisconsin, were not on the list.
This does not mean that the petitions for appeal have been denied but rather that the Supreme Court will decide at a future date whether to take up the cases.
SCOTUS Blog, a website that specializes in Supreme Court reporting, explains:
This could mean a couple of different things. It could mean that the petitions will be denied when the Court issues the rest of the orders from Monday’s conference — probably on Monday morning at 9:30 a.m. It could also mean that the Justices are taking more time to look at the cases: there are seven different petitions, involving a couple of different issues and different stances by state officials.
Even if there are four votes to take up the issue, they may need additional time to figure out which case(s) and which question(s). The next conference is scheduled for next Friday, October 10, so if review is not denied on Monday, October 6, we likely would not hear anything until Tuesday, October 14 (because October 13 is a federal holiday).
The good news for marriage equality advocates is that if the Supreme Court does deny the states’ petitions, then the lower court rulings will stand. In effect, this means that same-sex marriage will become legal in those states. They include Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
If they do decline the cases, the downside for marriage equality proponents is that the Supreme Court will punt on an issue of national significance for at least another year. Not ruling on the issue in the current term will delay action in the states where courts have not yet ruled.