The Supreme Court Just Quietly Made Marriage Equality The Law Of The Land In Many States"In a surprising anti-climax to one of the most important legal battles of the last several decades, the Supreme Court announced today that it would not hear several cases where federal appeals courts held that the Constitution guarantees same-sex couples the same marriage rights as straight couples. The announcement listed these marriage equality cases as part of a lengthy order listing the cases where the Court had denied review. The justices offered no explanation for their decision.
As a practical matter, however, this decision not to hear these cases is an earthquake for gay rights. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which covers Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, refused to issue a stay halting its order favoring marriage equality. Although the Supreme Court later stepped in with its own stay order, that order provides that the Supreme Court’s stay will “terminate automatically” if the Supreme Court denies review of the case. Now that the justices have done so, there should be no further legal barriers preventing marriages from beginning in those five states — although it is possible that there may be some delay before marriages may begin due to procedural steps that need to be taken by the judiciary."