Celebrate good times, COME ON!

Hi, peeps! It is MOI, Auntie Andi just popping by because of the absolutely historic nature of the past few days.

On Monday, the Supreme Court of these here United States decided not to hear any of the pending marriage equality cases.

Which means, dear readers, that the lower court rulings stand for those states. That is, same-sex marriage is legal and marriages could commence in the following five states: Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Utah.

But the refusal to hear the cases also extended to six other states: North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Colorado, Kansas and Wyoming.

Why? Because those six states are located in the judicial circuits of the other five, and must abide by lower appellate court rulings.

USAToday ‘splains.

So what we have seen, since Monday, is basically dominos falling as the states come to abide by lower court decisions. Some, like South Carolina and North Carolina are still refusing, but it’s a matter of time. We’ve also seen some movement in Idaho and Nevada. Idaho has managed to get a stay for a bit, but Nevada is on its way to marriage equality.

As of today, this is the marriage map, via Wikipedia:

Map key:
Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 3.54.27 PM

This week, my friends, is amazing. Yes, we still have a ways to go, and we absolutely cannot forget LGBT people in other countries who are not nearly as fortunate as we are, and we must continue to be vigilant and continue our social justice work in all quarters, but today, let us celebrate. It is certainly a day I never thought I’d see in my lifetime.

Happy Thursday!

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7 thoughts on “Celebrate good times, COME ON!

  1. You are right, Andi, I turn 50 in December so I’m pretty young (no laughter!) and I never thought I would see it in my life time, even if I lived into my 80’s! It’s mind boggling. I’m in Colorado and so many of my friends here have been married in other states or countries and now have to decide if it’s enough to have their earlier marriages recognized here or if they want to do it up big for all the local friends who missed it before. So very exciting!

    Ona

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  2. Never thought my partner of 36 years and I would see this either! Of course, in that “golden yellow” state of Michigan, technically, we have not yet seen it!
    It is a strange paradox , is it not, that this is happening at a time when the ‘state’ (meaning government) is hurting its citizens in so many other ways?

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  3. I’m not familiar with the american justice system being from a french territory… Could the Supreme Court decide in the future to hear a case (if the conservative judges regain majority) and reverse the process ? or is the fact that they refused to hear the cases on monday binding for any future Supreme Court ?

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  4. Yes. SCOTUS could indeed decide to hear a same-sex marriage case in the future.

    And no, the decision to not hear any cases isn’t binding on anybody. It just means that in the upcoming SCOTUS session, no same-sex marriage cases will be heard. They could decide in the next session after this one to hear a same-sex marriage case. The cases the court does not hear generally doesn’t affect future courts. The cases the court DOES hear and rule on, however, creates legal precedent that can be applied nationally. With regard to same-sex marriage, U.S. v. Windsor set legal precedent, and that’s why state bans have been falling since then.

    The ideological makeup of the court is 4 extremely conservative, 4 reasonably progressive, and 1 swing vote, though 1 of the reasonably progressive justices has been known to swing conservative. The swing vote is usually Justice Kennedy, and he has ruled with conservatives in some cases, and with progressives in others. He tends to lean progressive in matters of social justice, but it’s difficult to predict which way he’ll go on some. He ruled with the plaintiffs on Windsor, and with the court’s majority, meaning yes to get rid of the provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that prevented Edie Windsor from equal treatment with regard to her marriage to Thea Spyer.

    What United States v. Windsor (2013) did was invalidate a federal law that ensured same-sex couples were not equal to heterosexual couples in the eyes of the law. Which means that if the law is not valid, then state courts could use the decision in Windsor as a precedent and guide of sorts for state marriage cases, and because DOMA did not stand up to scrutiny at the SCOTUS level, chances are that it won’t (and it hasn’t) on the state level, either.

    Well, in the year since Windsor, over 40 courts have upheld Windsor and declared state bans on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional. This, of course, drove the appeals to the Supreme Court that the Court just turned down. In so doing, the Court managed to avoid dealing with this hot-button issue (especially in an election year–there are midterm elections next month) but also managed to allow state bans to continue to fall. Once a majority of states have implemented marriage equality, the chances of a rollback in that regard is small, especially since culturally, the U.S. has shifted and younger generations are very supportive, for the most part, of LGBT people.

    What people have to understand is that SCOTUS isn’t immune to political and social winds. Clearly, things have shifted in the U.S., and there is a sea change with regard to LGBT people and the idea of LGBT marriage. There’s a lot of talk that goes on behind closed doors with the justices, and I’m guessing that most were okay with not hearing these cases right now, for different reasons. The conservatives because there’s an election coming up and the ick factor with regard to LGBT people, and the progressives because there’s an election coming up AND several state bans would fall regardless, which would create a majority of states with same-sex marriage probably within the next few months and at that point, I suspect they’ll take a case.

    What’s binding here is Windsor, not this decision to not hear a case. Windsor set legal precedent. Now, SCOTUS did not completely throw DOMA out. It ruled on a couple of provisions. If SCOTUS had thrown the whole thing out, then that would have basically legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. So the court ruled conservatively in that sense, but the ruling nevertheless has been used to help continue to invalidate state laws.

    So in order to reverse Windsor, which would mean that it is constitutional to basically segregate LGBT people from marriage, the court would have to hear a case that provided really good reasons to reverse it, and so far, those opposed to same-sex marriage have not been able to provide compelling reasons in courts to deny the right to marry for same-sex couples.

    Does that clarify anything? And no, I am not an attorney, so those of you who are attorneys who read this blog, please correct me. Thanks!

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    1. Thank you Andi for explaining this process and yes it did make things clear in my mind on this matter.
      On our side same sex marriage is now legal but the right wing politicians are willing to reverse the law if this can bring them conservative votes in the next presidential election of 2017…
      So lets cross our fingers and hope for the better ;-)))

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  5. I’ve been following what’s going on in France since last summer, especially since some US groups are involved in the anti-LGBT push over there. It’s my understanding that the anti-LGBT forces (especially via Manif Pour Tous) make a good show, but French society in general is not opposed to gay marriage. After the most recent huge showing October 5 in the MPT march, I read a piece at Radio France that said less than a third of France supports the MPT position. So that’s heartening. They are, however, very good at getting attention, and that’s something that LGBT people and allies need to remember over there. MPT is very good at media spin, so allies need to work equally as hard to get their message out, too.

    Good luck!

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