It Looks Like Marriage Equality is Finally Headed to the Supreme Court

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The Sixth Circuit of federal appeals court ruled today that the bans on same-sex marriage in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee are constitutional. Today’s 2-1 decision means people in these states won’t be able to get gay-married just yet. Most importantly the Sixth Circuit’s ruling means there is now a “circuit split” on whether or not same-sex couples are allowed to be married under the Constitution. Think Progress explains a circuit split happens when “federal appeals courts disagree on the same question of law” so this is reason enough to get the Supreme Court to rule on the issue.

Circuit Judge Jeffrey Sutton cast the deciding vote saying that the democratic process, not the judiciary was the proper route towards civil rights.

When the courts do not let the people resolve new social issues like this one, they perpetuate the idea that the heroes in these change events are judges and lawyers. Better in this instance, we think, to allow change through the customary political processes, in which the people, gay and straight alike, become the heroes of their own stories by meeting each other not as adversaries in a court system but as fellow citizens seeking to resolve a new social issue in a fair-minded way.

In other words, the circuit judges are saying that other federal rulings have been too presumptuous in their interpretation of the Windsor SCOTUS ruling — just because SCOTUS ruled the federal government must respect marriage equality where states have passed it, that doesn’t mean it’s ruled that states can’t outlaw marriage equality. So ultimately, today’s decision means SCOTUS will have to decide if same-sex couples have the right to marry in all 50 states.

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Yvonne S. Marquez is a lesbian journalist and former Autostraddle senior editor living in Dallas, TX. She writes about social justice, politics, activism and other things dear to her queer Latina heart. Yvonne was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter. Read more of her work at

Yvonne has written 205 articles for us.


  1. If this is what it finally takes to get a Supreme Court Decision than I guess its good? But I still feel mad and aggressive about a circuit court making a ruling like this.

    • I think the supreme court was surprised by the sheer amount of lawsuits popping up everywhere. I think they expected and hoped that congress would pass some definite legislation on the issue without them having to weigh in again.

      • I think you’re right, salome, which is adorable on SCOTUS’s part because it places any faith at all in Congress’ ability to get shit done.

  2. On a brighter note, Missouri made some progress this week. You can get married in St. Louis now!

  3. thank you, judge martha craig daughtrey who wrote the 6th circuit dissent: “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.”

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