SCOTUS opens same-sex marriage in several states

The justices’ action, announced without comment by the court Monday morning, appears to clear the way for same-sex marriages in at least five states in short order. A series of other states could also see the practice quickly legalized under appeals court rulings already handed down.

The justices turned aside petitions challenging appellate decisions that overturned same-sex marriage bans in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The decision surprised many analysts because the justices had twice stepped in — in Utah and Virginia — to halt same-sex marriages in those states after lower court rulings found gay marriage bans unconstitutional.

(PHOTOS: Where same-sex couples can wed)

Now, those stays will be swept aside, with those decisions likely to kick in within a matter of days.

“I think this is a terrific result, for now,” said Richard Socarides, a gay-rights advocate and former adviser to President Bill Clinton. “It’s a little bit incremental, but I think it’s fantastic result and we should celebrate today.”

Conservatives were puzzled and disappointed by the outcome, since it takes only four justices to grant review of a case and the four most conservative justices last year dissented from the court’s decision striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act as violating the rights of gays and lesbians.

(PHOTOS: 26 gay-rights milestones)

”The Court’s denial of review in all the pending cases strikes me as grossly irresponsible, as a huge abdication of duty on the part of at least six justices,” Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center wrote on National Review online.

The action was announced shortly before the justices convened Monday morning for the first session of the Supreme Court’s new term.

Source:  Politico, “SCOTUS opens same-sex marriage in several states,” By Josh Gerstein | 10/6/14 10:10 AM EDT Updated: 10/6/14 10:54 AM EDT

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