Marriage Equality: A Small Recap

By BTL Staff

CINCINNATI - The Defense Against Marriage Act was struck down just over a year ago with the Windsor v. United States ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States. Since then, 19 states have made it possible for same-sex couples to get married. However, 31 states still hold a ban on same-sex marriage. Many more than just the 19 states have ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, but the court decisions have either been stayed or are currently being appealed.

Last month the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, deeming the ban unconstitutional. The decision directly affected Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico, resulting in great push back. Three separate rulings have been made in favor of same-sex marriage in Colorado, Utah and Oklahoma.

Just this past week in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, Circuit Judge Henry F. Floyd ruled that Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The decision will not take effect immediately and will be held for 21 days in order to allow for a stay or appeal, but the state's Attorney General has already come out saying that he will not defend the ban. This ruling by the 4th Circuit becomes the second Circuit court to rule in favor of same-sex marriage.

Two rulings have come out of Florida in favor of marriage equality. Miami-Dade County and Key West both came out in support of same-sex marriage. Florida's Attorney General has stayed both decisions. While each of these rulings only applies to one county, there is one more case being pushed through the Florida courts, indicating a continued fight for marriage equality in the southern state.

On Aug. 6, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals will see 30-minute cases from each of the four states represented in the district, including Michigan. The three judges have been picked. Jeffrey Sutton and Deborah Cook were both appointed in 2003 in the 6th Circuit by George W. Bush, and Martha Craig Daughtrey was appointed in 1993 by Bill Clinton.

The U.S. Federal Court of Appeals is one step below the Supreme Court and has many cases currently being heard in three separate circuits. Other appellate courts that will see oral arguments include the 7th Circuit Court representing Indiana and Wisconsin on Aug. 26 and the 9th Circuit Court representing Idaho and Nevada on Sept. 8. According to, there have been a total of 77 cases at the state and federal levels. Thirty-two states now have pending marriage litigation.

When are same-sex couples going to see a nationwide ruling that their unions and love are equal under the law? Not until at least October, when the United States Supreme Court's new term begins.

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