Supremes Sidestep Marriage Equality

It’s official now: the U.S. Supreme Court has denied petitions for review arising from seven challenges to state same-sex marriage bans. It did so, moreover, without comment, though it appears the lack–so far–of dissent from circuit court decisions holding such bans as unconstitutional was the deciding factor (the rare decisions upholding such bans have been–again, so far–at the district court level).

The impact will be immediate in five states where same-sex marriages were on hold until SCOTUS decided not to intervene: Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. BuzzFeed’s Chris Geidner estimates that full implementation of existing circuit court decisions will bring the number of states with marriage equality to 30, and that’s without factoring in future decisions.

You can only imagine the legal and political havoc that would ensure If circuits do eventually disagree and SCOTUS steps in to reinstate same-sex marriage bans. So it’s a fair guess that won’t happen.

We’ll probably have more about the fallout from this development later.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.