SCOTUS allows marriage wins

Timothy Kincaid

October 6th, 2014


The Supreme Court of the United States has just denied certiorari to the appeals by states from three circuit districts. (ABC)

The Supreme Court cleared the way Monday for an immediate expansion of same-sex marriage by unexpectedly and tersely turning away appeals from five states seeking to prohibit gay and lesbian unions. The court’s order effectively makes gay marriage legal in 30 states.

Without comment, the justices brought to an end delays in same-sex marriages in five states— Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.

In addition to those five states, in which marriage equality will immediately become law, the other non-marriage states within those circuits are but a formality away. Filing for equality in federal court in states within the Fourth, Seventh, and Tenth districts should result in an immediate favorable decision for West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Colorado, Kansas, and Wyoming.

The question of the constitutionality of anti-gay marriage bans generally has not yet been determined. SCOTUS could take up other districts’ appeals should they reach the court.

However, it should be noted that the decision to grant or deny certiorari is not a majority vote. It takes but four justices to decide that a court will hear an appeal. This suggests that either the conservative end of the court is hoping to wait for an appeal that better fits their opposition, or (despite long supposition otherwise) there are not four justices on the Supreme Court that oppose marriage equality and find it’s prohibition to be within the confines of constitutional enactment by the states.

The denial of cert to the three districts is not, as I noted, immediately determinative on the other districts. However, it does provide strong legal precedent – unless and until the court indicates otherwise – leaving it difficult for district judges to conclude gay marriage bans have constitutional merit. And, though it is no longer given much attention, it completely invalidates Baker v. Nelson as an argument for precedent.

At this point, it looks promising that marriage may soon come to all states.

Mark F.

October 6th, 2014

Very interesting. I wonder how the vote on granting cert lined up. Remember that 4 justices could have voted to take any of the cases. So, it will be at least 2016 before they issue on opinion on this matter.


October 6th, 2014

This is big!

It seems to me this also says a lot about what the court will do if one of the remaining appeals courts rules the other way.

enough already

October 6th, 2014

I suspect the invalidation of Baker v. Nelson is the most important ‘hidden’ aspect of these decisions.
The arguments before the sixth base a lot of their ‘merit’ on the question of whether it still holds or not.
Daughtrey has made clear that her Christian hatred trumps the US Constitution. The real question is how Sutton will react to this. I suspect he’s been looking for an excuse to avoid having to decide.
Going forward, Baker v. Nelson’s death is the end of just about every ‘tradition’ argument.
It’s worth noting that several prominent Christian leaders are calling for civil disobedience, especially in Oklahoma. I fear there will be violence toward queers as a result of this.

Timothy Kincaid

October 6th, 2014

Mark F,

Unless some circuit court has a conflicting ruling (and really how could they now), I don’t think SCOTUS will rule at all.


October 6th, 2014

Onward Christian Soldiers!

Losing here, they will move their money (and hate) generating machines to other countries!

We have a debt to pay and need to support INTERNATIONAL gay human rights.

enough already

October 6th, 2014

John, you raise a valid point.
It’s a bit like the tobacco companies. Once they saw the writing on the wall back in the 1960s, they began exporting their sticks of death.
Why did Christians decide that we were the ones to hate? There seem to be so many rules in their Bible about hating people, why us?


October 6th, 2014

I’d like to say a word for the bi-folk:

The question of the constitutionality of anti-gay marriage bans generally has not yet been determined. SCOTUS could take up other districts’ appeals should they reach the court.

The question of same-sex marriage bans generally has not yet been determined. The question of whether I will be pendantic about this point has most definitely been settled.

My home state’s Constitution doesn’t outlaw my being gay *or* bi; only that I can’t enter in to a same-sex marriage. The ban here in Michigan was struck down but that ruling was stayed pending appeal in the 6th circuit. We are not affected by today’s cert denials because the 6th circuit court of appeals has not yet ruled, so there is no cert petition in our jurisdiction yet.

Still, good news for all today!


October 6th, 2014

So anyone in Virginia wanna get hitched? Hee-hee! Sorry, just a bit giddy after 8 long years of waiting for this.

Oh wait.

Now my Mom will start bugging me to actually get married. Agh. Can we have a recount?!?

Forget it. I can deal.

Virginia is now for ALL lovers!!!

Timothy Kincaid

October 6th, 2014


Yes, bans on same-sex marriage also are anti-bi as well as anti-gay.

enough already

October 6th, 2014

I just don’t understand what you’re driving at.
If a man marries a man or a woman marries a woman, it’s still a marriage.
Whether one or both partners to that marriage is gay or bi is irrelevant.
If a bi-man marries a straight woman or a bi-woman marries a straight man, it’s still a marriage.
I don’t think you’re going to get special status from either the gays or the straights for being bi-sexual. Indeed, if one is to believe the most current research, you’re the most common ‘variety’ of human sexual orientation there is, so why the fuss?


October 6th, 2014

When I saw Equality NC’s announcement on Facebook, it wasn’t clear to me what was going on. Then I saw the HRC’s very clear announcement. I started hyperventilating and tearing up. Although I live in NC, I already feel like I live in an equality state; it is so exciting. But as Steve and John remind us, the long slog for equality isn’t over for everybody. We should make sure no one is left behind.

Also, I wonder at the motives for those that did not vote for cert/voted against cert/however that should be worded. I wonder if conservative Justices hoped to sway the election in about a month, by enraging the Republican social conservative base. I wonder if liberal Justices thought it better to bring freedom to 11 more states rather than risk denying all 31 equality for a generation. I wonder how many Justices just really didn’t want to deal with it, and this was the best way, especially considering that there was no disagreement in the cases before them.

So, does anybody know the chances of SCOTUS issuing stays on future rulings in our favor? I would just hate for NC to try to appeal a ruling against our amendment, and have to wait for months for SCOTUS to again deny cert.

Eric Payne

October 6th, 2014

In refusing the appeals before it, SCOTUS did not find there was a constitutional right for gays to marry, but rather found the lower circuit courts’ rulings were correctly decided, based on the arguments presented to those courts.

If a different federal-appeals level court were to reach a decision in conflict with today’s rulings, and that federal-appeals level court reached that decision based on a different argument, then SCOTUS would almost be forced to take that case on appeal, as there would be conflicting rulings out of the Circuits.

Until SCOTUS actually renders a binding decision, marriage-equality progress is going to be piece-mill.

I admit when I’m wrong, though — I was convinced Roberts/Scalia/Thomas/Alito were going to grant cert in the Utah appeal, and lean hard on Kennedy. I stand, happily, corrected.

Eric Payne

October 6th, 2014


Since the 4th Circuit has issued a ruling finding bans on marriage equality in Virginia are unconstitutional, that ruling holds for ALL states in the 4th Circuit, including the Carolinas.

Presumably, a couple would simply have to file suit… and as long as the government’s arguments closely followed those Virginia presented, an automatic judgement would be made against the state.

enough already

October 6th, 2014

It is an open question as to who joined the moderate (except for Justice Ginsberg, there are no liberals) Justices?
We can be assured Thomas and Scalia wanted to grant cert.
Alito? He did ask some genuinely valuable questions last time around, expecially about children of gay couples being punished for their parents’ being gay.
Roberts? He’s made no secret of his hatred for justice and freedom for anyone but Christians and big business. Still, if he can avoid having to be the Chief Justice of that court which brought equality to all Americans by doing so, I think he’d gladly deny cert.
Our real danger is Justice Kennedy. He’s a big fan of states’ rights, and a practicing Christian.
The question remains, why do Christian hate us so much?


October 6th, 2014

Thanks, Eric. We already have cases in Court (our federal court has been sitting on them for some time now). I know that the ACLU, ENC and other groups involved in those cases are pushing for a resolution. My only question now is if it is possible for the State to appeal a pro-marriage resolution, and if so, how it would be handled.

Mark F.

October 6th, 2014

Justice Kennedy has yet to join an anti-gay opinion. I doubt he will start now, but the issue is not over yet. We could still have a circuit conflict.


October 6th, 2014

We will get SSM, but we will never get our Loving, or heightened scrutiny, or clear vindication.

enough already

October 6th, 2014

Of course not – neither we nor young women bother to vote.
We have exactly the poor government we deserve.


October 7th, 2014

You know if they were not going to accept any of the cases then they should not have given stays in the first place. All they did was make couples suffer for months before saying that they won’t accept the cases. It kind of pisses me off. I am happy at what has happened, but very pissed at the same time.


October 7th, 2014

This is great news!

Why does it kill yup reverent set by Baker v. Nelson though? Is it because this is the same sort of ruling, only it’s in favor of marriage equality and more recent?

Either way, congrats to everyone!

Timothy Kincaid

October 7th, 2014


I get what you’re saying, but I think they put stays on until they decided whether they were going to accept cases. I’m not sure that they knew that they were not going to accept cases at the time.


Yes, because this is more recent.


October 7th, 2014


Thanks for interpreting my “yup reverent” as “the precedent.” Auto-correct!!!

Anyway, thanks for the answer. It will be interesting to see future defenses in court now that their one legal argument is shot.

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