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Supreme Court To Rule on Marriage Equality In 2015

Was7402494The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a marriage equality case in April and a decision is expected by late June. The justices are reviewing an appellate ruling that upheld bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, which are among the 14 states where same-sex couples are not allowed to marry. Attorney General Eric Holder says the Department of Justice will file ‘friend of the court’ brief to urge Supreme Court ‘to make marriage equality a reality for all Americans.’
This is an amazing moment for every member of the LGBTQ community – especially the courageous individuals and couples who bravely came out to their friends, families, co-workers and communities to shatter the negative stereotypes that were allowed to fester for so many years.
In my honest opinion, the Supremes are more likely than not to find in favor of marriage rights since 38 states now have those rights and yet the sky has not fallen. Moreover, if they allow the present patchwork quilt system to stay in place (permitting some states to ban marriage while others permit it) they will be opening the door to even more litigation and confusion than already exists today.
 A final ruling is expected by early next summer, probably in late June. Get ready for a great 4th of July Celebration in 2015!
Here is the link to the historic Supreme Court order granting certiorari:

http://www.supremecourt.gov/orders/courtorders/011615zr_f2q3.pdf

As you can see, the Court limited the specific questions it is prepared to answer to the two core constitutional issues that have led to a long string of lower-court rulings striking down state bans.

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

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?

As of now, same-sex marriages are allowed in thirty-six states, with bans remaining in the other fourteen but under court challenge.

Although the Court said explicitly that it was limiting review to the two basic questions, along the way the Justices may have to consider what constitutional tests they are going to apply to state bans, and what weight to give to policies that states will claim to justify one or the other of the bans.

The Court told the lawyers for same-sex couples to file their written briefs on the merits by February 27, and the lawyers for the states to file by March 27. Reply briefs by the couples’ lawyers are due on April 17.

The Court is scheduled to hold its final session of oral arguments from April 20 through 29, so the marriage equality case will be scheduled during that time.


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