A Summer of Equality: Momentum Builds for Marriage Equality in the Courts

September 15, 2014
After decades of fighting for the rights of same-sex couples to marry, supporters of marriage equality experienced an amazing summer, full of numerous victories in courts throughout the country. Since the beginning of June 2014, the one year anniversary of United States v. Windsor, courts ruled or upheld rulings that same-sex couples have a right to marry and that marriages performed in other states must be recognized in the following states: Colorado (state and federal courts), Florida (federal court), Indiana (federal & Seventh Circuit courts), Oklahoma (Tenth Circuit Court), Utah (Tenth Circuit), and Wisconsin (federal & Seventh Circuit courts). In a separate court case than the one mentioned above before the federal and Seventh Circuit, a federal court also ruled that marriages performed in other states must be recognized in Indiana. During this time period, a federal court also ruled that same-sex couples in Kentucky have a right to marry while the Fourth Circuit upheld a lower ruling that same-sex couples in Virginia have the right to marry and that banning these marriages is unconstitutional. However, on August 20, 2014 the Supreme Court issued a stay pending review. During this same time period, there were only two losses: in August, a Tennessee Circuit Court judge upheld Tennessee’s ban on marriage equality in a case from a gay couple seeking a divorce, and in September, a federal judge in Louisiana upheld a constitutional amendment restricting marriage to a man and a woman. Despite these two setbacks, momentum is clearly on the side of advocates of marriage equality. Currently, seven cases are waiting to be reviewed from the Supreme Court. The Court is set to meet on September 29 where the Justices will be considering the seven petitions. In the Book of Genesis (1:27) we learn that all human beings are created b’tselem Elohim (in the Divine image). This teaches us that all human beings, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation, deserve to be treated equally and fairly. We are heartened by the fact that there have been 39 court victories since the United States Supreme Court struck down article III of the Defense of Marriage Act in June 2013. As September 29 approaches, we can only hope that the Supreme Court will choose to hear a marriage equality case soon and decide once and for all that same-sex couples deserve the same rights as their straight counterparts.  

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