Same-Sex Marriage Appeals Request SCOTUS Review

By AJ Trager

NATIONAL - The same week the 6th Circuit Court heard testimony for marriage equality, three different states requested that the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) review federal court appeals, to make a final decision on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage.

In June, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of overturning a same-sex marriage ban for Utah, affecting the other circuit states of Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico and Wyoming. It was released Aug. 5th that the attorneys representing Utah plan to ask SCOTUS to review an appeal of the Utah-based ruling from the Court of Appeals. This will be the last chance for Utah to revive the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, which was found to violate the U.S. Constitution.

"The harm in waiting is significant, regardless of which side prevails," Utah wrote. "Either thousands of couples are being denied their constitutional right to marry, or millions of voters are being disenfranchised of their fundamental right to retain the definition of marriage that has existed since before the People ratified the United States Constitution."

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring stated Aug. 5th he would also file a petition with SCOTUS to review the lower court's ruling that stuck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage. Herring has said repeatedly that it is his duty to defend the state's ban, however, he has argued that the ban is in fact discriminatory. The petition was filed Aug. 9th with the high court.

The day after Utah filed, an Oklahoma court clerk filed an appeal for SCOTUS to review the second 10th Circuit Court decision striking down the same-sex marriage ban. The cases from Utah and Oklahoma were considered to be on a parallel track but were decided separately. In both cases, the Circuit Court ruled 2-1 that the state bans violated the 14th Amendment guaranteeing due process and equal protection under the law.

If states "must recognize all relationships as marriages, their purpose for having a marriage policy in the first place--to recognize and subsidize particular relationships because of the societal interests that they serve--would be eradicated," the petition states.

There has been a string of 35 consecutive legal victories since SCOTUS granted federal recognition of same-sex couples in Windsor v. United States last summer. Twelve rulings have come from state courts, 20 rulings from federal courts and three from federal appellate courts, according to a count maintained by Freedom to Marry.

SCOTUS is on break until the fall, at which point the justices will review Utah's petition and decide if they will hear the case.

In early July, the SCOTUSblog, a respected Supreme Court news and analysis website, offered a prediction over twitter that read "SCOTUS will act on the Utah #ssm petition by late-2014, likely grant it, hear argument in March 2015, and rule (5-4) in June 2015."


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