This post was written by WeddingWire Education Expert, Kathryn Hamm, President of GayWeddings.com. You can follow her on Twitter @gayweddingscom. GayWeddings.com is the leading online boutique and resource dedicated to serving same-sex couples since 1999, and a partner in the WeddingWire Network. Kathryn is also co-author of the groundbreaking book, Capturing Love: The Art of Lesbian & Gay Wedding Photography, now available in nationwide release.
Experts’s Note (11-12-2014): Since this post, marriage equality advanced in South Carolina. A federal judge overturned the ban on same-sex marriage, leading the way for marriage equality in the Palmetto state thanks to the binding pro-marriage equality ruling of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. The decision is on stay until Nov. 20.
Experts’s Note (11-13-2014): On November 12, the Supreme Court lifted the stay on marriage in Kansas, making Kansas the 33rd state to allow marriage.
Four weeks ago, I was struggling to keep up with what states needed to be added – and in what expedited order – to the count of marriage equality states. Today, the marriage pace has changed.
Since my last post on the Supreme Court’s decision not to review the pending marriage equality cases, more states have moved toward joining the list of states that recognize marriage equality (including Missouri), but, more significantly, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals broke with the trend of favorable Circuit Court decisions and announced its decision to uphold the bans on same-sex marriage in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Michigan.
This mixed result – it’s the first Circuit Court of the four (the 4th, 6th, 7th & 10th) that have heard marriage-related legislation to uphold a marriage ban – is one that invites the Supreme Court back to the table to weigh in.
Marriage Equality by June, 2015?
For those of you interested in the details of legislative journey of challenges to the ban in the 6th Circuit Court (impacting OH, KY, TN & MI), keep an eye on the blogs of Freedom to Marry and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Otherwise, know that the legal teams from the four states in the 6th Circuit Court plan to appeal directly to the Supreme Court in hopes that the quick action will result in the Supreme Court choosing to hear the case during this term. And, yes, this action would set up a possible result of a federal ruling on marriage equality by June 2015.
There are many small legal twists and turns to expect along the way, and one can never predict exactly how the Supreme Court might react, but there is plenty of reason to be hopeful that the Justices will weigh in this term on the question of marriage equality as the law of the land. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had noted not long before the current term, there would be little reason for the Supreme Court to weigh in unless there was a conflict in rulings arising through the lower courts. The 6th Circuit Court, as the only court to uphold its states’ bans, has just introduced the need for some black-robed referees to help settle the question of marriage equality.