By Sheryl Estrada
The decision on whether all 50 states are obligated to allow same-gender marriage is up to the Supreme Court.
On Friday, the court agreed to consider four cases, from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, in which lower courts upheld state bans on same-gender marriage.
The court will hear oral arguments in April, and is likely to issue a ruling in late June.
According to The Huffington Post, “In 2013 the high court struck down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act, ruling 5-4 that key provisions of the 1996 law that banned the federal government from recognizing same-[gender] marriages were unconstitutional. The same day, the court avoided ruling on the merits of a separate case questioning the constitutionality of state same-[gender] marriage bans, finding instead that a private party did not have standing to defend the California law in court.”
Currently, there are 36 states that allow same-gender marriage. It’s reported that 70 percent of Americans live in places where gay marriage is legal.
In October, the court upheld appeals-court rulings striking down gay-marriage bans in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. A later appeals-court decision affecting Idaho and Nevada also pulled in neighboring states.
Many pro-LGBT rights rulings in the lower courts were made final as a result of the court’s action.
Same-gender couples cannot be married in 14 states. This will be the fourth time in 27 years that the court will be weighing in on LGBT rights.
Advocates of same-gender marriage said they expect the court to invalidate state provisions that define marriage as between a man and a woman.
Supporters of traditional marriage would like the court to “let the political process play out, rather than have judges order states to allow same-[gender] couples to marry.”