Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Virgina, Utah, and Indiana can proceed with same-sex marriages now, as nine judges of the Supreme Court have refused to hear appeals from those states against gay marriage. This allows the circuit court decisions, which had struck down the bans in those states, to stand.
This also means that the majority of states now allow equal marriage, although the court did not go on to make it a nationwide ruling, and so the question will still have to be decided on a state by state basis. As this latest Supreme Court decision increases the number of states in which gay marriage is legal, the day when it becomes nationwide doesn’s seem so far away.
LGBT groups were delighted with the decision, and many couples can now go ahead and get married, whose nuptials were previously in limbo.
“Any time same-sex couples are extended marriage equality is something to celebrate, and today is a joyous day for thousands of couples across America who will immediately feel the impact of today’s Supreme Court action. But let me be clear, the complex and discriminatory patchwork of marriage laws that was prolonged today by the Supreme Court is unsustainable. The only acceptable solution is nationwide marriage equality and we recommit to ourselves to securing that ultimate victory as soon as possible”,
said Chad Griffin, President of Human Rights Campaign.
Some equal marriage statistics from HRC:
- As of today, same-sex couples can legally marry in 24 states, plus Washington, DC. (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin).
- Today 52 percent of Americans live in a state with marriage equality. One year ago only 30 percent could. If the other states within the federal appeals court jurisdictions impacted by today’s ruling grant marriage equality, that number will rise to 60 percent.
- Ten years ago only 42 percent of Americans supported marriage rights for same-sex couples, according to Gallup. Today, support is at 55 percent – with some polls putting support even higher at upwards of 59 percent.
- Cases from seven other states are pending before two federal appeals courts – the Sixth Circuit (Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee) and the Ninth Circuit (Hawaii, Idaho and Nevada). Rulings and appeals from those courts could reach the Supreme Court this term, although it is likely they would be on the docket during the next term.