By Mikkel Hyldebrandt
We were hoping that the Supreme Court Justices would take up the question on whether or not states should be allowed to ban gay marriage. Instead, the justices refused to review lower court decisions that struck down state bans on same-sex marriage on October 6. But without saying a word they still made a pretty loud and clear statement on the issue by choosing NOT address the issue just yet.
Because the effect of saying nothing on the matter means the rulings of the lower courts stand, which, in the case of 11 more states – Utah, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Indiana, and Wisconsin – will allows same-sex marriage. The here-and-now effect? As of Monday same-sex couples could get a marriage license and get married in those states – legally. And the total number of states where same-sex marriage is legal is now up to 30 – more than half of all American states.
So what happens if some of the lower courts move to uphold the ban on same-sex marriage? That’s when the Supreme Court is likely to step in and officially address the issue – or at least make it clear that couples that have been married and have marriage licenses will stay married. Under all circumstances this decision (or indecision) will put additional pressure on the remaining states that do not yet allow gay marriage. Even though this is not a national constitutional right just yet, this move has paved the way for freedom to marry in what accounts for 60% of the American population. And that’s a pretty big step on the way.