U.S. Supreme Court allowed gay marriage in five more states

Oct 7, 2014 13:50 IST

US Supreme Court allowed gay marriages in five more states and declined to hear appeal against the decision. The decision was given on 6 October 2014.

The five states involved in the decision are Virginia, Oklahoma, Utah, Wisconsin and Indiana. With the decision, the court left intact lower-court rulings that struck down bans in those states.

Now, the total number of states with gay marriage is likely to jump from 19 to 30.

Conservative protesters appealed in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on 6 October 2014 in Washington, DC. The Supreme Court announced that it will not hear the five pending same-sex marriage cases, paving the way for gay and lesbian marriage in 11 more states.

The other states would be North Carolina, West Virginia, South Carolina, Wyoming, Kansas and Colorado.

The issue could still return to the court, but the message sent by the court in declining to hear the matter would be a boost to gay marriage advocates involved in similar litigation in states that still have bans on the books.

Background

Just over a year ago, the justices ruled 5-4 in June 2013 to strike down a key part of a federal law that had restricted the definition of marriage to heterosexual couples for the purpose of federal government benefits.

That decision in the case U.S. v. Windsor led to a series of court rulings favoring gay marriage in numerous states. In a separate case decided on the same day, the justices sidestepped the broader question of whether state bans violated the U.S. Constitution but allowed gay marriage to move forward in California.

The momentum within America's courts in favor of gay marriage reflects a sea-change in public opinion in the past decade, with polls showing a steady increase in support. Politicians, mostly Democrats but also some notable Republicans, have increasingly voiced their support for ending bans.

It was only as recently as 2004 that Massachusetts became the first state to allow gay marriage following a state court ruling in the 2003.

In 17 other states, judges have issued rulings in favor of gay marriage - most of which struck down bans - although the prohibitions have remained intact while litigation continues.

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