The Supreme Court Has Agreed To Hear Same Sex Marriage Case–Landmark Ruling Expected

The United States Supreme Court has finally decided to step in and decide the national debate on same sex marriage. With over 70% of Americans living in states where same sex marriage is permitted, the Court has been urged by those on both sides of the political spectrum to decide this matter now.

In deciding to take up the issue, the Supreme Court limited its review to two related questions:

1. Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?
2. Does the Fourteenth 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?

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President Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign stated:

“As Justice Anthony Kennedy said in the Windsor case, this is a struggle over whether our families are equal or whether they are second class. The U.S. constitution does not tolerate second-class citizenship, a fact that has toppled discriminatory marriage bans from Utah to Arkansas. We’ve reached the moment of truth–the facts are clear, the arguments have been heard by dozens of courts, and now the nine justices of the Supreme Court have an urgent opportunity to guarantee fairness for countless families, once and for all.”

Avoiding the issue last October when it heard an appeal concerning the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, the Supreme Court left the states without a rudder. The number of states allowing same sex marriages jumped from 19 to 36.

Thereafter, when the 6th Circuit United States Court of Appeals upheld bans on same sex marriage in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, it created a conflict between decisions rendered in other federal and state courts.

Al Gerhardstein, the attorney representing Ohio’s same-sex couples, believes that deciding all four cases at once will “ensure a comprehensive review” by the Court.

It is anticipated that the Court will hear oral argument in April, 2015, and issue its opinion by the end of the term in June, 2015.

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