HRC Blog

Two Marriage Equality Cases Have Reached the Supreme Court

This week two federal appeals court rulings in favor of marriage equality were appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States, the first time a marriage case has reached the highest court in the land since last year’s landmark ruling in United States v. Windsor

On Tuesday, Utah officials petitioned the Supreme Court to hear its appeal of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that affirmed a district court decision striking down the state’s ban on marriage equality.  And on Wednesday, officials in Oklahoma appealed a similar ruling from the Tenth Circuit that strike down that state’s marriage ban. 

Both states had the option to request an en banc appeal before the full bench of the Tenth Circuit, but instead chose to appeal directly to the Supreme Court.  But the Supreme Court is under no obligation as to which case or cases – if any – it choses to hear on appeal.   However, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently told reporters the Court will not “duck” a marriage case.  "I think the court will not do what they did in the old days when they continually ducked the issue of miscegenation," Ginsburg said. "If a case is properly before the court, they will take it." 

Also this week, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring and State Registrar of Vital Records Janet Rainey announced that on Friday they would separately be petitioning the Supreme Court to take up the Virginia marriage equality ruling that the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals handed down last week.  That court also ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, striking down the state’s ban on marriages for same-sex couples.  Attorney General Herring declined to defend the ban when he took office, indicating he believes it to be unconstitutional. 

For more information on these and the dozens of other marriage equality cases across the country, visit hrc.org/marriageequality.   

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