Monday, October 6, 2014

Justice... Just Fashionally Late

Finally, we must wait no more... At least when it comes to the US Supreme Court. The nation's highest court had several marriage equality cases awaiting action. And now, we know the Supreme Court has denied petitions (for appeal) in all those cases.

So what does this mean? In short, marriage equality is now the law of the land in at least 5 more states: Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and Utah. By denying petitions of appeal, lower court rulings in favor of marriage will stand. This also means SCOTUS stays on those rulings expire today, and this is why marriages will likely begin today in Virginia and Wisconsin.

But wait, there's more. The Supreme Court essentially upheld these federal appellate court rulings de facto by dismissing the appeals. This will require lower federal courts within these appellate court circuits (4th, 7th, & 10th) to abide by these appellate court rulings. And this most likely opens the door to marriage bans being struck down quite soon in North Carolina, West Virginia, South Carolina (all 4th Circuit), Kansas, Wyoming, and Colorado (all 10th Circuit). (Maryland, Illinois, and New Mexico already have marriage equality.)

But wait, what about us? Well, that's the downside of today's ruling. Because the 9th Circuit hasn't yet issued a ruling on Sevcik v. Sandoval, we'll have to wait a little longer here in Nevada.

But then again, we may not have to wait that much longer. If the 9th overturns Nevada's marriage ban (as most legal observers expect), the Supreme Court may not decide to place a stay on that ruling should opponents appeal. After all, the Court just dismissed all these cases.

Nevada's LGBTQ families have been waiting 12 years for this. And sadly, they will have to wait just a little longer for justice to finally arrive. But now, we can feel more confident about justice arriving to The Silver State. Just pardon her for arriving fashionably late.

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