This week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review lower court rulings striking down state marriage amendments, effectively expanding “same-sex marriage” to Indiana, Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The decision also clears the way for the “same-sex marriage” bans in Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, West Virginia, South Carolina and North Carolina, which lie in the federal circuits that struck down the bans, to be invalidated.
The reason for this decision has many puzzled, since it only takes four Justices to decide to hear a case. But all three federal appellate courts to hear the matter thus far struck down the state bans. Therefore, the Justices may have decided to wait for a federal appellate court to rule in favor of the bans, thus creating a conflict in the Circuits courts for the Supreme Court to resolve.
It remains to be seen whether such a conflict will ever arise. However, the federal 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, in which Missouri lies, ruled in 2006 in Citizens for Equal Protection v. Bruning that the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment does not require states to recognize marriage between persons of the same sex. The court ruled that states have a vested interest in defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman “to encourage heterosexual couples to bear and raise children in committed marriage relationships.” Will a “same-sex marriage” case get to the 8th Circuit, and if so, will the court remain true to this ruling?