When the Supreme Court decided not to hear appeals from five states in three circuits regarding same-sex marriage bans, they in effect legalized same-sex marriage in those five states, as well as six others in the same circuits which have similar laws that have not yet been struck down. A majority of Americans now live in states where same-sex marriage is (or shortly will be) legal. Nate Silver and Allison McCann over at FiveThirtyEight have a breakdown.
Lyle Denniston over at SCOTUSblog has an in-depth discussion of what happened, why and what it means on a national level. It is well worth the read. Also, stay on top of things with the Indiana Law Blog, as well.
As for Indiana, when will we see marriage licenses issued? Certainly very soon. The 7th Circuit hasn’t yet made it official, but the Indiana AG is telling county clerks to be ready, as it could happen as early as today or tomorrow. Read the AG Office’s “Important Communication” to county clerks here.
What does the future hold? Well, the Supreme Court has left open the opportunity to revisit this issue, obviously. The Court is probably sitting at a 4-4 vote, with Anthony Kennedy the fence sitter. It’s possible that none of the other Justices wanted to hear the cases because they couldn’t be sure if he would be on their side or not. Not worth the gamble. However, when (and if) a Circuit Court rules in favor of a state ban, the disagreement among the Circuits will virtually guarantee that the Supreme Court will have to decide the issue. If they reverse course, and the bans are again allowed, some states – and in the current climate, Indiana may be one of them – will see same-sex marriages go from banned to not banned to banned again. Unfortunately, that leaves a lot of Hoosier couples in a precarious position. Having this issue decided once and for all was what most people – on either side of the debate – were hoping for.
Yesterday, of course, lawyers argued before a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit on Indiana’s and Wisconsin’s same-sex marriage bans.
The general consensus seems to be that the judges signaled very clearly they are going to rule against Indiana and Wisconsin on this. Hear some of the smack down here.
We’ll have to wait a few more weeks (Aug. 26) for the hearing on Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban with the 7th Circuit, but that doesn’t mean things aren’t happening. Target is joining the growing list of companies supporting marriage equality by filing a brief with the court. Generally, companies are lining up in favor of same-sex marriage recognition for two reasons: it’s good PR, and they believe allowing same-sex marriages in states where they do business will help them attract better employees.
Meanwhile, the 6th Circuit is looking at the bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee right now. Shortly after the hearing is over, a link to the audio will be posted on the 6th Circuit’s website.
And SCOTUSblog updated late yesterday afternoon that both Utah and Virginia officials are wasting no time asking the Supreme Court to step in. Things are moving fast. Stay tuned.
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban, becoming the second circuit to do so (along with the Tenth).
It’s starting to look more and more like the Indiana/Wisconsin appeal (along with ten other states who joined) is set to be a potential game-breaker. If the Seventh Circuit determines the bans are unconstitutional, it’s going to be near impossible – if it’s not already – for states to justify the expense of arguing positions that have been repeatedly rejected in different courts.
That still leaves the Supreme Court, of course, and I’m sure Virginia, Indiana, et al., will file for certiorari in due time, but smart states will sit on the sideline and watch what happens on another state’s dime.
The excellent Indiana Law Blog has distilled today’s developments on the challenges to Indiana and Wisconsin’s same-sex marriage bans in the 7th Circuit today.
Long story short, the Appellants (in this case, the states) had requested a hearing en banc, which has now been denied. Instead, the appeals from both states will be heard together before a three-judge panel on August 26th, 2014.
As things move along, there doesn’t seem to be anything to be done about the people who have already been married during the “window” in which same-sex marriages were briefly legal. Governor Pence has instructed the state to treat those marriages as invalid. The ACLU doesn’t feel like they can do much about it at the moment.