This morning the Supreme Court officially declined to rule on five pending same-sex marriage cases from Indiana, Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Wisconsin. This means that the lower court rulings in these cases will remain intact and won’t be successfully appealed, so same-sex marriage will remain legal in a number of individual states. However, the decision also dashes many activists’ hopes that a SCOTUS ruling might be a major step forward for federally affirming that marriage equality is a right guaranteed by the Constitution.
The justices gave no reason for their rejection of these cases. The decision is a surprise, as many had predicted that the court would hear at least one of them. Some speculate that “perhaps [sense] that the country is headed toward legalizing gay marriage without their involvement,” but there’s no way to know for sure. Without the federal case, the legal battle for marriage equality will have to continue on a state-by-state basis for now.
The stay on marriages should end immediately in those five states, and marriage should begin in six other states related to those cases should be available soon.North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Colorado, Kansas and Wyoming.