Yesterday the Supreme Court of the United States of America chose not to hear appeals from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin regarding Circuit Court rulings on the validity of same-sex marriages.
Since the Supreme Court’s action (or lack thereof) yesterday, same-sex couples in many of the affected states have been applying for marriage licenses. As of this morning, the Kosciusko County Clerk began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The Supreme Court’s inaction isn’t the final word on the issue. However, until the Supreme Court does hear these cases or makes a ruling on same sex marriages, the decisions of the circuit courts, including a ruling deeming Indiana’s marriage law unconstitutional, will stand. As such, same-sex marriages must now be recognized in the state of Indiana, at least for the foreseeable future.
“Because the U.S. Constitution is supreme to all state constitutions when it comes to a conflict between them, the effort to amend the Indiana Constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman would appear to be over unless the U.S. Supreme Court reverses its decision and ultimately takes up the matter in the future to overturn the current decision by the 7th Circuit concerning Indiana law,” wrote Indiana Senate President Pro Tempore David Long (R–Fort Wayne) in a press release. “Given [yesterday]’s ruling, that appears unlikely.”
“It is surprising, given the importance of this issue to our society, that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to take up this matter, but instead to rely upon lower court rulings,” Long stated. “That being said, the Court appears to have sent a message that if they ultimately do hear these cases, they will support these lower court rulings, and find that same-sex marriage is on equal footing with traditional marriage.”
Frankly, it’s surprising that the Supreme Court’s decision comes as such a surprise. The Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America clearly states, “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Recognizing heterosexual marriages while banning same-sex marriages appears to directly oppose the Fourteenth Amendment.
Nonetheless, Hoosier’s reactions to the decision were mixed. Some SPO readers took to Facebook to voice their opinions:
Down in the state’s capital, same-sex marriage supporters have organized a “Love Wins” celebration. Plaintiff couples, attorneys, faith leaders and couples who were married in Indiana earlier this year or those who applied for licenses will gather Indy Fringe at 5:30 p.m. Then those 21 years and older are welcome to continue the celebration at Metro Nightclub.
While the celebration seems warranted, the story on gay marriages in Indiana isn’t quite over. Though given the Supreme Court’s rejection of certain parts of the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, and rulings by state and federal judges in favor of marriage equality, it would seem Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage may be gone for good.