America’s Supreme Court cleared the way for an immediate expansion of same-sex marriage by unexpectedly and tersely turning away appeals from five states seeking to prohibit gay and lesbian unions.
The court’s order effectively makes gay marriage legal now in 30 states.
Without comment, the justices brought to an end delays in same-sex marriages in five states— Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Couples in six other states — Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming — should be able to get married in short order. Those states would be bound by the same appellate rulings that were put on hold pending the Supreme Court’s review
No other state cases were currently pending with the high court, but the justices stopped short of resolving for now the question of same-sex marriage nationwide. Still, those 11 states would bring to 30 the number of states where same-sex marriage is legal, plus the District of Columbia.
Challenges are pending in every state.
Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, called on the high court to “finish the job”. Wolfson said 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.”
Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, an opponent of same-sex marriage, also chastised the court for its “irresponsible denial of review in the cases”. Whelan said it is hard to see how the court could eventually rule in favour of same-sex marriage bans after having allowed so many court decisions striking down those bans to remain in effect.
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