The month of November led to some very interesting political developments across the U.S. In addition to retaking control of the Senate, conservatives also had a big win after a U.S. Court of Appeal for the 6th Circuit panel in Cincinnati, Ohio upheld same-sex marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Tennessee, and Ohio. This decision comes less than a month after the Supreme Court (SC) decided not hear any same-sex marriage cases on their preterm case review docket. Many have posited that because the SC had not decided to hear any of these state cases that struck down same-sex marriage bans, this meant that the SC had believed that the decisions of these lower courts were constitutionally sound and thus did not require SC review. Now that the 6th Circuit has become the first federal appeals court that has supported same-sex marriage bans, many wonder whether the SC will be forced to finally make a constitutional ruling on this very important family law issue.
The 6th Circuit Case for Maintaining Same Sex marriage Bans
The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled in a 2 to 1 vote for maintaining existing same-sex bans. This decision represents a break with all other federal appeals courts, which so far have decided not to uphold state based bans on gay marriage. The decision by the Court panel served to overturn lower court rulings in Kentucky, Michigan, Tennessee, and Ohio, which had struck down the original state bans on same-sex marriage. Judge Sutton, along with Judge Cook, rejected the analysis provided in the SC decision U.S. v. Windsor, which persuaded other appeals courts to strike down state-based same-sex marriage bans. Sutton, in his written decision, repeatedly focused on the principle of democratic action, stating the same-sex marriage advocates would be more effective if they focused on persuading their fellow citizens instead of devoting time and energy towards forcing federal judges to decide the issue.
The SC did not provide its reasoning for not hearing state-based gay marriage ban cases. However, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has stated that there was no reason for the SC to get involved in settling the same-sex marriage ban controversy until there was a disagreement about the issue amongst the lower courts. Now, the 6th Circuit’s decision to uphold the ban should provide the disagreement required for the SC to determine the issue. Both sides of the debate are excited about the 6th Circuit ruling because it may force the SC to finally rule on the issue. Some assume that the SC will favor the pro-same sex decisions of other circuit courts, because not doing so could potentially serve to null and otherwise create significant issues for the same-sex couples in Connecticut and other states who who have already married. Regardless of the outcome, this important family law issue will continue to be a hot topic issue in the upcoming years.
Do you have questions about same-sex marriage in Connecticut? Are you facing other family law issues? Contact the experienced Fairfield County family law attorneys at our law firm for answers to any of your family law-related questions.