It was bound to happen. Sooner or later the U.S. Supreme Court would be put to the task of deciding whether a married couple from California are still married while visiting Elvis’ ghost at Graceland, in Tennessee.
That day has come.
By June 2015, the Court will decide whether the few remaining gay marriage bans must fall. Currently, only fourteen states still refuse to allow gay couples to marry. And until recently, when the Sixth Circuit Court bucked the trend of the other circuits who have weighed in on the issue, gay marriage seemed a foregone conclusion. It still is, but a decision from the high court will speed things up. And despite the Court’s conservative leanings, gay marriage will prevail.
The President of the United States supports gay marriage. He has also instructed the U.S. Attorney General to urge the Court “to make marriage equality a reality for all Americans,” not just those Americans living in thirty-six states and the District of Columbia.
Though the Justices initially declined to hear appeals of gay marriage cases just three short months ago, the number of states that now allow gay marriage has nearly doubled since then.
Given the level of importance of the issue, the Court is extending to two-and-a-half hours the time allowed for oral argument in which it will consider two questions: first, does the U.S. Constitution require states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and second, whether states must fully adopt the comity clause; that is, must states must recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.
The appeals granted review by the Court spring from gay marriages cases in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. The Sixth Circuit upheld bans in those states, reversing federal judicial rulings in support of gay marriage and making it the first federal appeals court to rule against gay marriage since the Supreme Court struck down DOMA in 2013.