By now, most of the nation has heard that the issue of same-sex marriage is going back to the United States Supreme Court and this time, timing will play a key role in the decision. Just over a month ago, the nation’s highest court declined to rule on gay marriage; but now, in an irony, a ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold bans against same-sex marriage in four states, Tennessee, Ohio, Kentucky, and Michigan, makes it more likely the justices in Washington will hear arguments once again.
That’s because the ruling by the panel on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is in conflict with a federal appeals court which put an end to a slew of rulings on the matter, as these appellate judges are just below the justices which sit on the highest court in the country. With such a contradiction, it is now far more likely SCOTUS will be taking-up the issue.
Gay Marriage Headed to Supreme Court Again
The issue was stalled when the high court refused to rule on the matter previously, but in a speech given by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Minnesota this past September, the jurist explained the reason for the rejection was due to lack of conflict within the appellate court system. Justice Ginsburg stated that “there will be some urgency” if the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals permitted individual state bans against gay marriage.
“Generally, the court would have to decide by mid-January whether to hear the case in time for a decision in June. Otherwise, the case would be pushed back to the following term and probably not decided until June 2016.” —Associated Press
The 2-1 panel decision by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that it should be left up to the political process, not the courts, to decide the issue. However, the dissenting jurists in that particular decision disagree and believe that it was a strategic move to push the matter up to the Supreme Court, out of the appellate divisions.
Same-Sex Marriage Gains Momentum
Recently, four appellate courts have ruled that individual states cannot ban same-sex marriage, bringing the current total number of states which gay marriage is allowed to 30 states. Though the decision runs contrary to the pro-gay cause, it nevertheless paves the way for it to be heard at the highest level of jurisprudence.
Essentially, what is happening is the forces opposing equal access to equal rights is embracing an argument routinely denied or panned by the very same group. The strategic move is to get the issue to either linger between the courts and the political process, or force it into areas of the law where it meets much questioning. Part of the newest crop of questions is about the timing.
In general, the U.S. Supreme Court will have to issue a decision whether or not to take up same-sex matter in this term by mid-January. If it does elect to hear the matter, it will probably issue a decision in June. However, if the high court does not take up gay marriage, it will be pushed back to the next term, and decided a year later, sometime in June of 2016.
The ruling has followed in excess of twenty same-sex marriage victories in various jurisdictions since SCOTUS first struck down federal Defense of Marriage Act in 2013.