Today is the first anniversary of the landmark ruling United States v. Windsor that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional and opened the floodgates to a large number of court cases that have ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. So far 14 District Courts have ruled in favor of same-sex marriage (with Indiana joining them yesterday) and other courts have ruled favorably on related aspects of same-sex marriage, such as whether states that do not allow it must respect the marriages of those who were legally married in other states. There has not been a single defeat.
Yesterday the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Utah ruled 2-1 that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriages was unconstitutional. This is significant in that it was the first decision on such cases by an Appeals Court, a necessary stage before the US Supreme Court can take it up. In addition to Utah, the Tenth Circuit’s jurisdiction covers Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.
The Appeals Court put its ruling on hold which means that Utah couples can’t get married as yet. Lyle Denniston explains why they did this:
The Tenth Circuit noted that, after a federal trial judge had struck down the Utah ban, the Supreme Court had put that ruling on hold. So, the Tenth Circuit said, it was postponing the effective date of its ruling until after the Supreme Court has a chance to consider any appeal by state officials. If such an appeal is not filed, or if it is filed and rejected, its ruling would then go into effect, it said. If the Supreme Court agreed to take on the case, the stay would remain in effect until a decision emerged.
In the Indiana case, in which that state’s same-sex marriage ban was struck down, the Indianapolis judge who issued the ruling ordered his decision into effect immediately. That would put it up to state officials to decide whether to seek a stay from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
The Utah Attorney General has already said they will appeal.
A good anniversary for the Windsor decision.