Supreme Court allows gay marriage to expand to 30 states

SCOTUS supreme courtBy RICHARD WOLF
c. 2014 USA Today

WASHINGTON (RNS) The Supreme Court refused to get involved in the national debate over same-sex marriage on Monday (Oct. 6), leaving intact lower court rulings that will legalize the practice in 11 additional states.

The unexpected decision by the justices, announced without further explanation, immediately affects five states in which federal appeals courts had struck down bans against gay marriage: Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Utah.

It also will bring along six other states located in the judicial circuits overseen by those federal appeals courts: North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Colorado, Kansas and Wyoming.

The action will bring to 30 the number of states where gays and lesbians can marry. Appeals courts in Cincinnati and San Francisco are considering cases that could expand that number further, presuming the Supreme Court remains outside the legal fray.

Most court-watchers had predicted the justices would hear one or more cases this term and issue a verdict with nationwide implications by next June. But the justices, perhaps sensing that the country is headed toward legalizing gay marriage without their involvement, chose to deny states’ appeals.

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia currently permit same-sex marriage, and the high court ruled last year that the federal government cannot deny benefits to such couples. It sidestepped the remaining state laws by taking no position on the merits of California’s Proposition 8 ban, which had been struck down by lower federal courts.

Since those decisions were handed down, six additional states have legalized gay marriage, and federal and state judges in 14 more states have overturned marriage bans, beginning with Utah last December. All those rulings have been put on hold during the appeals process, leaving 31 bans in place.

The cases that had been under consideration included those from three federal appeals courts:

* A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Denver-based 10th Circuit ruled 2-1 in June and July that same-sex couples in Utah and Oklahoma have “the same fundamental right” to marry as heterosexuals.
* A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Richmond, Va.-based 4th Circuit ruled 2-1 in July that gay men and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry that is paramount to state marriage laws.
* A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Chicago-based 7th Circuit declared unanimously last month that gay marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin threaten “the welfare of American children.”

Last month, a federal district judge in Louisiana became the first to uphold a state’s ban in the wake of last year’s Supreme Court rulings. Until then, gay marriage proponents had won every federal case.

(Richard Wolf writes for USA Today)

Religion News Service

RNS is owned by Religion News LLC, a non-profit, limited liability corporation based at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Its mission is to provide in-depth, non-sectarian coverage of religion, spirituality and ideas.

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25 Comments on "Supreme Court allows gay marriage to expand to 30 states"

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
 
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George Nixon Shuler
Guest

BTW: “Orthodoxy” and “PC” are the exact same thing.

Scott
Guest

If the conversations here are any indication of the struggle within the UMC, then it is readily apparent why a split in the UMC is likely. On some issues, there is no reconciling of opposing viewpoints. I will not raise my child in a church which conducts gay weddings. Thankfully, there are churches that are upholding the time-honored scriptures and Christian tradition of marriage being between one man and one woman. If the UMC succumbs to the culture of the world, then it deserves to schism.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

Perhaps it is you who is the one submitting to the temptations of the world by expressing irrational prejudices not based on facts. Prejudice is learned behavior. A Great Grandfather of mine once referred to African-Americans as a lower order of being that we whites were. I chose to not let such ill-informed irrationalistic prejudices be my beliefs. You can as well.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest
My friend, I am not a fundamentalist. I do not search for verses to justify my prejudices. You may as well ask me to answer in Sanskrit. It ain’t gonna happen. I think Galatians 3:28 trumps all your clobber passages. That you have bothered to learn these (probably had them memorized, I suspect) is a matter of concern. You need to take a cold, hard look at yourself. You possess no authority to wag your finger at those you don’t like. The wedding analogies are most often thought to be metaphorical for the relationship of Christ to the Church. In… Read more »
Jamie Hamrick
Guest

Sad day for our country and another sign of UMR liberalism focusing on PC rather than making disciples.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

PC = demanding others agree with you. On the contrary, it is the forces of repression making that demand. If you don’t believe in gay marriage, then don’t marry someone of the same sex. Case closed.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

In this format, replies are not permitted to some posts for some reason. The Bible does not permit only things specifically designated as such. No, is cherry picking scripture to justify one’s prejudices encouraged. Look in the mirror, not out the window.

Mark
Guest
George Nixon Shuler
Guest

all assertions, no evidence.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

Since that’s not going to happen after over five decades of study, the question is moot.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

Added: none of the “clobber passages” which you cite are applicable to LGBT marriages of today.

Mark
Guest

Pot? Meet kettle.

Mark
Guest

I was referring to Mr. (assuming he’s not offended by a gendered reference) Shuler’s comment. He presents no evidence and criticizes those who do.

Mark
Guest

In his classic Harvard Address, Alexander Solzhenitsyn warned against replacing morality with legality.

Legality—particularly today—implies neither morality nor rationality.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

actually the ruling is precisely moral and rational.

Gregory Peterson
Guest

This is good news, though justice demands that the couple in the remaining states should not have to wait one second more to have their marriages legally recognized.

Sandy Wylie
Guest

George and Gregory, I couldn’t agree with both of you more. This is a great day for justice and liberty.

Wes Andrews
Guest

And again the Roman Catholics have it right. There is civil “marriage,” and then there is Biblical marriage that is under the responsibility of the church to bless. Civil marriage has become essentially anything goes, and Biblical marriage is designed to honor God’s will for marriage, sexuality and family.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

there is certainly no evidence gay marriage is “against God’s will.”

Wes Andrews
Guest

Assertion from George: “there is certainly no evidence gay marriage is “against God’s will.”

Note: There was no response to the question, “Based on what Scripture?

Scott
Guest

It absolutely amazes me that Christians will attempt to assert that there is nothing to indicate that “gay marriage” is against God’s will. Please read the Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapter 19, where Jesus in addressing the subject of marriage clearly indicates that marriage is between a man a woman. There is absolutely nothing in the Holy Scriptures to ever indicate that a sexual union between two people of the same sex is “blessed” by God, and it is anathema for supposed ministers of the Gospel to assert otherwise.

Wes Andrews
Guest

Based on what Scripture?

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

Excellent news, thank you. Now if only our UMC could catch up with the courts in affirming the sacred worth of all persons. The main thing preventing this is, of course, the hatemongers in our midst. The good thing is their grandchildren will be spectacularly embarassed.

Scott
Guest

The day that, as you call it, the UMC “catches up with the courts” is the day that the UMC formally ceases to bear witness as a church of Christ. And, I might add, such a day will also be the day that I and many other United Methodists will sever ties with such a church.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

Where’s the evidence to support your assertion it will cease to bear witness as a church? This is merely an uninformed opinion devoid of facts.

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