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December 12, 2017
Monday, October 6, 2014

US Supreme Court dodges gay marriage, allowing weddings in five states

The US Supreme Court today declined to decide once and for all whether states can ban gay marriage, a surprise move that will allow gay men and women to marry in five states where same-sex weddings were previously forbidden.

By rejecting appeals in cases involving Virginia, Oklahoma, Utah, Wisconsin and Indiana, the court left intact lower-court rulings that had struck down the bans in those states. But the high court's action means there will be no imminent national ruling on the issue, with litigation in states where gay marriage is still banned likely to continue.

"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," Chad Griffin, president of the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement.

Other states under the jurisdiction of appeals courts that have struck down the bans will also be affected by the Supreme Court's decision, meaning the number of states with gay marriage is likely to quickly jump from 19 to 30. The other states would be North Carolina, West Virginia, South Carolina, Wyoming, Kansas and Colorado.

The court could still take a future case, but its move on Monday is likely to send a strong signal to lower court judges that rulings striking down marriage bans are consistent with the U.S. Constitution.

Gay couples in the affected states may seek to get married immediately, with the chance of chaotic scenes in some parts of the country, because the high court's action means that the appeals court's rulings are no longer on hold.

The high court’s decision not to hear the cases was unexpected because most legal experts believed it would want to weigh in on a question of national importance that focuses on whether the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal treatment under the law means gay marriage bans were unlawful.

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Tags:  US  Supreme Court  same sex  marriage  





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