Oct 1, 2014

Will the Supreme Court Take on the Issue of the States and Same-Sex Marriage? An Overview of the Route of the Same-Sex Marriage Issue to the Supreme Court

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Will the U.S. Supreme Court  take on the issue of the states and same-sex marriage ?  


This remains to be seen.  Last week, the Supreme Court put same-sex marriage cases originating in five different states on the list of cases to consider hearing.  The justices have now met, at least initially as of September 30, 2014, to consider the cases.  This conference is not to hear the cases and then issue a ruling, because the Supreme Court has not gotten that far.  Rather, since the Supreme Court has the option to accept or refuse a request to review a case from a lower federal court, they must first vote to hear the case.  If at least four of the nine justices agree to review these cases, a requirement known as the "Rule of Four", than a hearing will be scheduled and eventually the justices will rule on those cases leaving us with a majority decision and opinion on the subject of same-sex marriage at the state level.  If the justices decide to review the cases, the process of the hearing, conference, ruling and opinion writing could take about a year.  If the justices hear a case in the winter or spring, Americans could get a ruling by June or July of 2015.  The cases the Supreme Court is considering are from the 4th, 7th, and 10th Circuit Courts of Appeal, which are the federal appellate court for three circuits.  These cases originated in five different states: Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana and Wisconsin.


 
How did same-sex marriage get to the U.S. Supreme Court?


Over the past year, suits have been filed in almost every state that legally bans same-sex marriage, including Georgia.  These suits are challenging these state denials of same-sex marriage, whether denied by state law or by the state constitution, as violations of the U.S. Constitution.  Supporters of same-sex marriage rights argue that to deny the ability of same-sex couples to acquire a marriage license from the state, and thus the same legal benefits as other married couples, is a violation of the 14th amendment's Equal Protection clause guaranteeing equal protection under the law.  Those that oppose same-sex marriage or support the state bans have argued in the courts that the U.S. Constitution does NOT prohibit the states from defining marriage in a way that excludes same-sex couples.  Some of these suits have made it out of the lowest level of the federal court system, district courts, and into the intermediate appellate level.  Each of these intermediate appellate courts have jurisdiction (authority) extending over a particular geographic boundary.  These geographic boundaries are referred to as "circuits".  The losing parties in these circuit courts of appeal, the supporters of state bans, have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decisions of the lower courts in the hope that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of the state bans as constitutional exercises in state authority.  The Supreme Court is the last court of appeal.   If there is a hearing and a ruling, the decision of a majority of the Supreme Court justices will be the final decision and will essentially become law.  If there is no hearing and no decision, the decision of the lower court stands.  Every Court of Appeal that has heard a state same-sex marriage case has ruled the state's same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional, a violation of the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Before this, only 1 out of 22 lower federal district courts had upheld a state ban as constitutional.  Therefore, no decision may mean that same-sex marriages can resume in the states' whose bans were overturned at the lower levels of the federal court system.


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12 comments:

  1. I believe that anyone who fears that they are not being treated justly, should be able to speak out and seek equality. Same sex marriage is a very controversial subject. Whether you agree with the idea or oppose it, I believe people have the right to seek justice. In the south, the Bible belt, many find that such an action is morally incorrect. Others want to block the financial impact that would incur when influxes of individuals receive tax breaks and health care benefits. I do not really understand how the Supreme Court decisions would impact the marriages of those who have already been granted that privilege. Whatever the case or how anyone feels the results should be, it is good to find internal balance.
    JAG

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    1. The article mentions that supporters of same sex marriage feel that it is unconstitutional to deny same sex couples the right to be married. It states that justice has been denied because the 14th amendment has been ignored. The 14th amendment contains an Equal Protection clause. Same sex couples contend that the states banning same sex marriage are not making a constitutional decision. The Supreme Court is still in the preliminary stage of involvement. They are not ruling on the state's ability to govern such laws; they are deciding whether to hear cases about the matter. If they decide to allow the state's to accept or reject these types of marriages, it is likely bans will continue to be implemented. However, if the Supreme Court chooses to hear the appeals of these couples, we may end up with a universal law code on the matter. Right now, we just have to wait and see. JAG

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  2. The Supreme Court would inform to send this issues back to the states for the people to decide through legislation and the political process. That would depend on how the case is brought before the court. If it's brought before the Court as a states rights issue, I can see the Supreme Court upholding the rights of states to make their own marriage laws. There just isn't anything in the Constitution that precludes same-sex marriage. They probably would rule in favor of legalizing same sex marriage under the Equal Protection Clause

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  3. Marriage is the union of two people that love each other and want to look after each other. Whether the marriage is between two people of the same sex should be no concern of anyone but the couple's. For states to deny the right of matrimony to same-sex marriage is wrong and oversteps their boundaries. The people have the right to love and be with whom every they wish.

    Marriage does have its benefits and for the states to deny those benefits is a violation of the equal protection clause. The Supreme Court must base their decision based on the Constitution and block out their personal beliefs. Due to this I believe that once the case has been decided on, the court will rule in favor of same-sex marriage. If the courts rule in favor of the states, same-sex marriage will be unattainable through paper, but this will not stop same-sex couples from being together and being married in their heats and minds. The government can not stop people from being together, so why not let them have the rights that other married couples receive.

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  4. Same sex marriage is a very sensitive issue.It has its impact on all levels but one cannot deny the fact that under the 14th amendment equal protection law the ones who are in favor of sane sex marriage do make a point.I strongly believe that issues so sensitive need an authoritative body to keep the peace as it effects different communities and religions and eventually the decisions will be made by individual states.Involvement of supreme court helps keep the order and also helps protects the rights of every individual. At this point one has to wait and see what the decision is going to be but i believe we should respect every individual right to chose their own preferences of living their lives.

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  5. Same-Sex Marriage is the topic of the decade; it is our civil rights movement of the 21st century. As the Declaration of Independence states “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” then why in todays society are men and women who want to marry the same-sex not given their unalienable rights. The 14th Amendment is the Equal Protection clause (for people after the Civil War) but due to appeals at the State courts, the Supreme Court needs to step in and decide what makes same-sex marriage unconstitutional. I understand that there are moral, religious objections to consider but I believe that people should be able to do what they want if they are not infringing the rights of others or myself. This subject is definitely controversial but so was the civil rights movement in the 1950s-1970s. Society will step in and decide what is fair and just.
    JMB

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  6. There are many aspects that contribute to this controversial topic of marriage. I actually prefer to think of it as marriage, and not qualify it as same-sex marriage, since it was not previously qualified as heterosexual marriage, or two-person marriage, or anything else similar. One aspect is that the framers of the constitution intended to avoid the tyranny of the majority wherein popular vote would not always rule, and there needed to be a delegation of authority that would make informed decisions. Therefore the fact that popular vote in a state, whether for or against qualifying and limiting who can be legally married, may seem to legitimize discrimination against a person’s sexual orientation, does not make it constitutional.
    The Fourteenth Amendment to the constitution states that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States….No State shall make or enforce any law….nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”. That seems pretty straightforward and plain language to me. Therefore, if two people can be married by law, then equal protection of that law would allow two people to marry regardless of their gender. So whether a state decides to pass a law or amend the state constitution it remains discrimination and un-equal protection if it bans two people of the same sex from entering into marriage, just as it has been un-equal to ban marriage based on race.
    Now we know that the U. S. Supreme Court has decided to hear, and has heard arguments for and against the same-sex marriage ban constitutionality, in Case #14-556 Obergefel v. Hodges on April 28, 2015 with a ruling expected this month. This came about due to a number of suits challenging the constitutionality of this ban in several states. After listening to the audio transcript, I feel the two advocates for the petitioners presented a more solid case for the ban being unconstitutional, than the advocate for the respondent. However, as I listened to the justices’ questions and counterarguments I felt they will probably deliver a decision consistent with power remaining with the States. I hope I am wrong.

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  7. The institution of marriage is much older than the institution of modern politics. Marriage is a religion-based concept that should have never gotten wrapped up in the politics world to begin with. As the Supreme Court goes back and forth over the controversial subject of same-sex marriage I think it is important to put the whole issue into perspective. Why do same-sex couples want the right to be married? Largely, so that they can obtain the legal benefits that heterosexual couples have long taken for granted. Personally, I believe that due to the equal protection clause in the 14th amendment those legal rights should be granted to everyone regardless of who they wish to be united to. But let's take marriage out of the picture entirely. Call it what it is, a legal union. Banning same-sex marriage should be ruled unconstitutional not based on any social prejudices, but because there is no denying that the bans are denying a group of citizens equal protection to their rights. So the Supreme Court should rule that legal unions can be granted to whatever type of couple wishes to obtain them. Although I believe it is right for same-sex couples to be granted legal unions, I believe a marriage should be considered as an entirely separate process. I hope that as the government moves towards granting same-sex couples their constitutional rights, society will move towards differentiating between a legal union between whomever and a Christian marriage between a man and a woman while avoiding any discrimination towards either institution.

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  8. Same-sex marriage is very conversional, and things in our generation are changing each and everyday. I think in the future the Supreme Court will outlaw same-sex marriage. Even though I believe and it states in the Bible that a marriage should be between a man and a women. America is a free country, and we should have the right to choose who we marry and fall in love with. Gay marriage is a issue that is not ever going to be put away. The Supreme Court just believes that a marriage is not a marriage with all the financial benefits and everything unless it is between a man and a women. I do not agree with any act of discrimination, nor have anything to do with anyone that does discriminate against another individual. I do believe it is important to respect and not judge others by who they choose to marry and fall in love with. Honestly, you can't help who you fall in love with. I do not support gay marriage, but I do not discriminate or distance myself from who believes in it. Everyone has their own thoughts and opinions towards it. Being pretty conservative I have never been for the Supreme Court outlawing gay marriage. I am a Christian and I believe a marriage should be between a man and a women, but I do feel everyone should be happy and spend their life with the person they want to because America is a free country.

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  9. I, personally am not for or against same sex marriages, but I do believe that all individuals should be subject to the same liberties. This is a touchy subject but I honestly don't think it calls for this much controversy. Yes, marriage is normally between a man and a woman but does the rights for an individual have to be different if they choose to marry someone of the same gender? Everyone should be protected under the 14th Amendendent and the Equal Protection Clause. I think the main issue here is that so many personal beliefs on how things should be is getting in the way of fair judgment being made.

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  10. Amelia Williams
    And the decision has been made. It was interesting reading this article, because I was not aware of all of the history that took place before the Supreme Court was able to take the case and make their decision which occurred earlier this week. Regardless of which side of the debate you stand, history was made this week. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. Like this article states above, it was ruled that to deny a marriage license (and tax benefits) to same-sex couples is a violation of the 14th Amendment.

    In the technology driven world we live in today, we have easy access to every individual's opinions. My Facebook newsfeed, for example, has been flooded these past few days with controversial, angry, or celebratory posts based on who is writing them. It is important that you have opinions but that does not mean that everyone wants to read about them. Though people may share differing views on the Supreme Court's rule, it is important that we all remember the following things: we understand and respect that people are entitled to their own opinion, we respect the laws of the land (since this ruling is now law), and we remember that ALL men are created equal and deserve to be treated as human beings regardless of what person they choose to love.

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  11. Amelia Williams
    And the decision has been made. It was interesting reading this article, because I was not aware of all of the history that took place before the Supreme Court was able to take the case and make their decision which occurred earlier this week. Regardless of which side of the debate you stand, history was made this week. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. Like this article states above, it was ruled that to deny a marriage license (and tax benefits) to same-sex couples is a violation of the 14th Amendment.

    In the technology driven world we live in today, we have easy access to every individual's opinions. My Facebook newsfeed, for example, has been flooded these past few days with controversial, angry, or celebratory posts based on who is writing them. It is important that you have opinions but that does not mean that everyone wants to read about them. Though people may share differing views on the Supreme Court's rule, it is important that we all remember the following things: we understand and respect that people are entitled to their own opinion, we respect the laws of the land (since this ruling is now law), and we remember that ALL men are created equal and deserve to be treated as human beings regardless of what person they choose to love.

    ReplyDelete

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