This morning the Supreme Court denied certiorari in all five freedom to marry cases pending before it. The ACLU was co-counsel in three of the five cases.
The Supreme Court had previously granted a stay of the decisions by the 4th, 7th and 10th Circuits, which had all ruled in favor of marriage for same-sex couples, but those decisions had been stayed. The Supreme Court’s action this morning means that it will not hear the cases, the Circuit court decisions are affirmed, the stays will be lifted in those cases, and marriages will go forward immediately in Virginia, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Utah.
This is an amazing victory for loving and committed same-sex couples in these states who now have the freedom and recognition that they deserve.
The Supreme Court’s denial also means that all the other states in the 4th, 7th, and 10th Circuits are now bound by circuit decisions recognizing marriage for same-sex couples. Within those circuits, some states – Illinois, New Mexico, and Maryland – already had marriage equality. But now, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming are all bound by these final federal appeals court decisions that hold that it is unconstitutional to exclude same-sex couples from the protections of marriage.
These states are now also constitutionally obligated to respect the marriages of same-sex couples from out of state. That means that in short order, marriages will be happening in those states, and it will bring the number of states with marriage for same-sex couples to 30.
Ultimately, it means that we will soon see marriage in a lot more states. The Supreme Court’s action this morning sends an unmistakable signal that the nine justices are comfortable with the lower court decisions in favor of marriage, and we think that lower courts will read that loud and clear.
The United States has made incredible progress toward embracing full equality for same-sex couples. We’re more than halfway up the mountain, and now the peak is coming into view. At its summit, there’s a flag that reads, “50.” And we won’t stop climbing until marriage equality is achieved in every great state of this union.