Ban on Gay Marriage Upheld in Four States

By Lauren Bennett 11-07-14

The ban on gay marriage in four states has been upheld for the first time by a federal appeals court. The decision impacts same-sex couples in Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, and Tennessee. The ruling by the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals disagrees with those from lower courts, making it more likely that the Supreme Court will hear same-sex marriage cases after previously refusing to do so. 6th Circuit Judge Jeffrey Sutton says gay marriage across America is basically inevitable, but he claimed that such a decision should not be made by the judicial system. Rather, Sutton asserts that the decision should be made by “the less expedient, but usually reliable, work of the state democratic processes.” Senior Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey disagrees: “If we in the judiciary do not have the authority, and indeed the responsibility, to right fundamental wrongs left excused by a majority of the electorate, our whole intricate, constitutional system of checks and balances, as well as the oaths to which we swore, prove to be nothing but shams.” She claims that in order to safeguard the constitutional rights of the minority, federal courts need to be involved.

Gay-rights activists in the four states are outraged and disheartened. Chase Strangio, a  staff attorney in the ACLU Lesbian Gay and Bisexual and Trasngender Project, said, “We believe it’s wholly unconstitutional to deny same sex couples and their families access to the rights and respect that all other families receive. We will be filing for Supreme Court review right away and hope that through this deeply disappointing ruling we will be able to bring a uniform rule of equality to the entire country.” Quick solutions to this issue are being sought by all states affected by the ruling. So far, same-sex marriage has been legalized in 32 states and the District of Columbia.