Wow! The Supreme Court today surprised almost all legal observers by refusing to hear ("called denying certiorari") appeals from five states of decisions in three federal appellate circuits that said that bans on marriage equality violated the federal constitution. The nearly immediate effect of the Supreme Court action means that the fight for marriage equality in those states (Oklahoma, Indiana, Utah, Wisconsin and Virginia) is over. Once final orders are issued from the corresponding U.S. appellate circuits (which usually takes a month) same-sex couples will be able to get married in those states. Effectively, it means that as of today there are now 24 states that "have" marriage equality.
Very soon after those orders go into effect the number of states with marriage equality will include the other six states within the 4th, 7th and 10th circuits covered by the previously issued rulings in those marriage equality cases: Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia.
Evan Wolfson Founder and President of Freedom to Marry issued the following statement:
Today’s decision by the Supreme Court leaves in force five favorable marriage rulings reached in three federal appellate courts, ensuring the freedom to marry for millions more Americans around the country. The Court’s letting stand these victories means that gay couples will soon share in the freedom to marry in 30 states, representing 60% of the American people. But we are one country, with one Constitution, and the Court’s delay in affirming the freedom to marry nationwide prolongs the patchwork of state-to-state discrimination and the harms and indignity that the denial of marriage still inflicts on too many couples in too many places. As waves of freedom to marry litigation continue to surge, we will continue to press the urgency and make the case that America – all of America -- is ready for the freedom to marry, and the Supreme Court should finish the job.I wonder if this surprising result is an example of the Posner effect, i.e. Judge Richard Posner's evisceration of the arguments against marriage equality in oral arguments and then eloquently in his written decision (upheld today by the Supreme Court) overturning Indiana's and Wisconsin's bans on marriage equality.