The Question On Same Sex Marriage Is Going To Be Finally Answered.

21100467_mlThe United States Supreme Court announced on Friday, January 16, 2015, that it will rule once and for all this year on whether the Constitution guaranties equal protection under the law to give gay and lesbian Americans the right to marry. The Supreme Court Justices decided to review a 2-1 Decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which upheld bans on same sex marriage in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee. The decision from the Sixth Circuit Court is the first time that the Federal Appeal Court backed a same sex marriage ban after other Federal Appeal Courts had found similar bans unconstitutional. That split among circuit courts is the reason that the United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case. The oral arguments will be held at the end of the Supreme Court session in March of 2015. A ruling will come down sometime in June.

 

The Supreme Court said it would specifically address two questions: Does the 14th Amendment, which provides equal protection under the law, require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex? And, does the 14th Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of state?

Mark Kogan

The decision to take up the case returns the Justices to an arena that they previously dealt with in 2013 when the Supreme Court struck down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act. That ruling, which was 5-4 with Justice Anthony Kennedy joining the majority, held that key provisions of the 1996 law, which banned the Federal Government from recognizing same sex marriages, was unconstitutional. At the time of that ruling, the United States Supreme Court avoided ruling on the merits of the separate case questioning the constitutionality of state same sex marriage bans.

 

Based largely on the decision in the Defense of Marriage Act case, Federal Courts around the country began striking down same sex marriage bans in several states. By October of 2014, the Supreme Court rejected appeals from five states that wanted to bar gay marriage. Every Federal Appeals Court that had addressed this issue has held that same sex marriage bans are unconstitutional. This has held true until the Sixth Circuit decision. The Sixth Circuit decision apparently changed the Supreme Court Justice’s minds and has allowed them to now hear the issue. In making their announcement, they have extended the time of the oral argument. The Justice’s have given 90 minutes for the first question and another 60 minutes for the second part of the test. Basically, when the decision comes down in June, there shall be no more questions on whether or not a state can ban gay marriage and whether or not another state must recognize a marriage of same sex individuals even though it was held out of state.

 

If you have any additional questions about this article, I can be reached at mkogan@hgsklawyers.com or (800) 975-LAW1.

Staff Writer

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