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Supreme Court Rejects Gay Marriage Appeals
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Supreme Court Rejects Gay Marriage Appeals

Summary: The Supreme Court declined hearing the appeals from several states on the issue of same-sex marriage, which means that lower court rulings that struck down bans on same-sex marriage will stand.

NBC News reports that on Monday, the United States Supreme Court announced that it will not hear same-sex marriage cases. By declining to grant certiorari to hear the cases, same-sex marriages will be allowed in up to 11 new states.


The Supreme Court rejected appeals in cases involving the states of Utah, Indiana, Wisconsin, Virginia, and Oklahoma. By rejecting the appeals, lower-court rulings in these states that declared bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional still stand as law. The Supreme Court’s decision ends delays on same-sex marriages in these states.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring stated, “This is the outcome we’ve fought for, and it is the outcome that the Constitution requires.” Couples will be allowed to get married as early as 1:00 p.m. EST in Virginia. In addition, Virginia will recognize same-sex marriages performed in states where they are already legal, offering full faith and credit to those states.

In six other states—North Carolina, Kansas, Colorado, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming—same sex couples will likely be able to get married soon as well. These states fall under the same appellate rulings that were stayed while the Supreme Court reviewed the appeals.

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Essentially, the Supreme Court’s decision makes same sex marriage legal in 30 states, plus the District of Columbia. Several states have already legalized same sex marriage, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

Many had assumed that the Supreme Court would rule on the national same-sex marriage issue this term.

Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, a well-known gay rights advocacy group, said, “Today is a joyous day for thousands of couples across America who will immediately feel the impact of today’s Supreme Court action.” He noted that there is a “complex and discriminatory patchwork of marriage laws” in states that still outlaw gay marriage is “unsustainable” and that the “only acceptable solution is nationwide marriage equality.”

The National Organization for Marriage, which fights against same-sex marriage, issued a statement saying it was “surprised and extremely disappointed” that the court declined to hear the appeals. The organization asked for Congress to “move forward immediately to send a federal marriage amendment to the states for ratification.”

The Supreme Court’s decision does not set legal precedent that courts must follow. Lower courts remain free to rule for or against same sex marriage. Rulings upholding bans could certainty still be issued.

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