The Supreme Court has agreed to take up a consolidated set of same-sex marriage cases that could settle the issue once and for all in the United States.
According to the Huffington Post:
Meeting behind closed doors on Friday, the nine justices decided to review a 2-1 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit that upheld bans on same-sex marriage in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee. The decision by two judges on the Cincinnati-based court, both appointed by President George W. Bush, marked the first time a federal appeals court backed a same-sex marriage ban after other appellate courts had found similar bans unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court will hear arguments and likely rule by June.
The court said it would specifically address two questions: Does the 14th Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex? And does the 14th Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?
The high court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in the United States v. Windsor case from 2013. That decision cleared the way for the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages for the purposes of various rights and benefits. Lower courts have used the legal reasoning from the Windsor case to strike down state marriage bans.
Last year, the Supreme Court refused to take a case involving Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban after two lower courts ruled it unconstitutional. That decision opened the door to marriage equality in a majority of US states. All told, the number of marriage equality states doubled to 35 in 2014.
If the Supreme Court overturns the 6th Circuit ruling, the nation’s highest court would effectively legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states.
Photo Credit: Rob Crawley, flickr