With the gay marriage victories in Oregon and Pennsylvania this week, the Human Rights Campaign produced a nice summary of where we are on the marriage equality issue overall, including taking stock in upcoming court cases.
Just to step back, the reason you’ve been hearing so much about gay marriage over the past year is because of the momentous Supreme Court decision in US v. Windsor, released last June.
In the Windsor case, the Supreme Court struck down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). As a result of Windsor, we’ve now won in 18 consecutive courts on the marriage issue in a little less than a year.
HRC reports that there are currently at least 70 court cases challenging gay marriage bans across the country, 44 in federal court and 27 in state courts.
But even more interesting, there are ten marriage equality cases going before five federal appellate courts in the coming months.
Now, the reason those are presumably interesting is that the only court you can go to after you lose in a federal appellate court is the US Supreme Court. And the Supreme Court has already ruled on this issue, so it’s likely an appeal by the bad guys (assuming they lose in federal district court) won’t get them anywhere. So once the appeals courts decide, that’s it, game over in that state.
We currently have marriage equality in 18 US states, and Pennsylvania makes nineteen if the decision isn’t stayed by an appellate court. These are the 18: CA, CT, DE, HI, IA, IL, ME, MD, MA, MN, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OR, RI, VT, and WA.
32 states, per HRC, have a law or constitutional amendment restricting marriage to one man and one woman.
It really has been an amazing year.