Update on Same Sex Marriage in the 4th Circuit
The Supreme Court announced today that they would not hear any same-sex marriage cases in the 2015 term. While this may seem surprising, I think that it is a good strategic move. This decision means that bans on same-sex marriage will be immediately lifted in Indiana, Utah, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Virginia. There are 7 other states that this ruling will effect because they lie in the same federal districts. In response to the Supreme Court announcement, the 4th Circuit, which contains North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland, issued a mandate that Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriages will be lifted as of 1:00 pm today. Hopefully North Carolina will soon follow suit.
From a broad perspective, this move by the Supreme Court sets up the issue nicely for the 2016 term. As of today, 24 US states and the District of Columbia all allow same-sex marriages. Given the rapid rate of change on this issue, I anticipate this number will rise in the next year. Multiple federal courts have already issued favorable rulings. If the current trends continue, then I see a clear victory for same-sex marriages in the Supreme Court in 2016.
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