A conflicting ruling in an appeals courts on Thursday upholds marriage bans in four states. After rejecting a law that would give same-sex couples the right to wed, the conservative-leaning Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati upheld the marriage ban. And its ruling assumes the marriage ban in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee.
After a series of court victories in recent years, this recent decision creates a divide within the nation's circuit courts and will most likely guarantee a review by the U.S. Supreme Court. Circuit Judge Jeffrey Sutton said that the "appellate judges' hands [were] tied by a one-sentence Supreme Court ruling from 1972," which stated that it was the "right of the people of a state to define marriage as they see it," according to USA Today.
The judge went on to say, states "got into the business of defining marriage, and remain in the business of defining marriage, not to regulate love, but to regulate sex, most especially the intended and unintended effects of male-female intercourse."
But this setback won't stop marriage equality advocates. They vowed to "press the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the cases and make a comprehensive ruling on marriage equality as soon as possible," according to Common Dreams.
Evan Wolfson, president and founder of the Freedom to Marry Founder—a campaign to win marriage nationwide—responded to the ruling and is calling on the Supreme Court to end such "discrimination:"
"Today’s ruling is completely out of step with the Supreme Court's clear signal last month, out of step with the constitutional command as recognized by nearly every state and federal court in the past year, and out of step with the majority of the American people. This anomalous ruling won't stand the test of time or appeal. But with discrimination still burdening too many families, and now with this split in the circuits, Freedom to Marry calls on the Supreme Court to swiftly take these cases, affirm the freedom to marry, and bring national resolution once and for all. American couples and their families should no longer be forced to fight court by court, state by state, day by day for the freedom and dignity that our Constitution promises."
This past summer and fall, victories in the Fourth Circuit, Seventh Circuit and Tenth Circuit added to the 40 additional wins in state and federal court. This leaves just 15 states without the freedom to marry.
So will the nation's highest court review these cases and recognize the freedom to marry nationwide?