When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year, justices side-stepped the issue of state bans on same-sex marriage, either by statute or by constitution. Since that time, various U.S. Courts of Appeal have struck down state-level bans, using reasoning similar to the high court’s in U.S. v. Windsor. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it will not hear appeals of five such rulings. As Adam Liptak reported for the New York Times, the move “may signal the inevitability of a nationwide right to same-sex marriage.”
The development, a major surprise, cleared the way for same-sex marriages in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. Officials in Virginia announced that marriages would start at 1 p.m. on Monday.
The decision to let the appeals court rulings stand, which came without explanation in a series of brief orders, will almost immediately increase the number of states allowing same-sex marriage from 19 to 24, along with the District of Columbia. The impact of the move will in short order be even broader.
Monday’s orders let stand decisions from three federal appeals courts with jurisdiction over six other states that ban same-sex marriage: Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming. Those appeals courts will almost certainly follow their own precedents to strike down those additional bans as well, meaning the number of states with same-sex marriage should soon climb to 30. […]
Other appeals courts are likely to rule soon on yet other marriage bans, including the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco. That court has jurisdiction over nine states. If it rules in favor of same-sex marriage, as expected, it is unlikely to enter a stay, and, given Monday’s developments at the Supreme Court, there is no particular reason to think the justices will.
It’s all over but the shouting. And speaking of shouting, I’ve enclosed below the reaction to today’s news from the FAMiLY Leader organization, which spearheaded the backlash against the Iowa Supreme Court over its 2009 decision in Varnum v Brien. No Iowa Supreme Court justices are up for retention this year. The remaining three justices who were part of the Varnum ruling will be up for retention in 2016: Chief Justice Mark Cady (author of that unanimous decision), Justice Brent Appel, and Justice Daryl Hecht.
The Alliance for Justice has compiled details on every federal court ruling related to marriage equality here. That organization’s president, Nan Aron, said in a statement today, “It is disappointing that the Supreme Court declined to take any of the marriage equality cases decided by federal appeals courts. In 2013, in its decisions on the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and on Proposition 8, the Supreme Court began to bend the arc of history toward justice on this issue. By declining to take these cases, the Court passed up an opportunity to finish the job.”
Any relevant comments are welcome in this thread. UPDATE: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is not going to fight against marriage equality in Wisconsin anymore. Accepting reality may work against him if he runs in the 2016 Iowa Republican caucuses.
SECOND UPDATE: I’ve enclosed below a statement from Republican Party of Iowa Co-Chair Cody Hoefert. I am intrigued that Iowa GOP Chair Jeff Kaufmann doesn’t seem interested in speaking out on this issue anymore. In 2011, he voted for a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Kaufmann retired in 2012, and his son Bobby Kaufmann was elected to succeed him in the Iowa House. Bobby Kaufmann declined to co-sponsor a marriage amendment in 2013.
October 6 press release:
The FAMiLY LEADER Responds to Decision by U.S. Supreme Court Regarding Marriage
Urbandale, IOWA – Today, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) decided to allow numerous lower court marriage decisions to stand, effectively allowing a handful of judges to throw out state bans on so-called “gay marriage.” Those bans were put in place by an overwhelming majority of voters, who amended their state constitutions to declare moral and legal sanity regarding what marriage is and isn’t.
This morning’s disappointing SCOTUS non-ruling amounts to a handful of appointed, virtually non-accountable Judges punting on their duty. SCOTUS had the opportunity to correct numerous, legally and morally twisted lower court decisions. Those judges’ opinions fly in the face of 6000 years of human history, they disregard our Nation’s founding legal principles of “…the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” and they disrespect tens of millions of voters in many States, who passed Constitutional Amendments declaring what God, Nature, history and common sense all know: marriage can only truly be between one man and one woman.
The political ramifications of today’s “punt” should be obvious. “We the People” are under attack regarding our rights of conscience, our religious liberty, and our very religious/moral beliefs which were shared by the Founders. This overt, post-modern arrogance has led to much pent up frustration by the voters. It should motivate and necessitate our thorough vetting of candidates for public office, and of current officeholders, by pressuring them to tell us, “What are you going to do about this? What is your leadership strategy to right this ship? What’s your remedy to this leftist takeover by judges, who are flying in the face of ‘the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God’?”
Furthermore, why would any governor or state legislature capitulate to these Judges? As Jefferson and Lincoln noted, judges aren’t the most powerful branch of government. The other two branches have as much say constitutionally, and more say practically, than the judiciary. Where are the Lincolns and the Jeffersons of our era?
UPDATE: Iowa GOP press release, October 7:
Iowa GOP Co-Chair Cody Hoefert releases statement on yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling
(DES MOINES) — Republican Party of Iowa Co-Chairman Cody Hoefert today released the following statement concerning yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling on the definition of marriage:
“The grassroots Republicans who make up the core of our party have loudly spoken on this issue, and believe marriage is between one man and one woman. As a state party, we will continue to fight for marriage. The Republican Party of Iowa stands firmly behind America’s moral heritage of defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. By refusing the opportunity for five American states the right to respectfully petition the federal government for a legal redress of grievances, the U.S. Supreme Court has committed an egregious act of judicial activism.”