In 2004, Missouri voters approved a constitutional amendment that excluded gay men and lesbians from marrying in Missouri.
This measure was upheld until last week when U.S. District Court Judge Ortrie Smith ruled in Kansas City, Mo. that same-sex couple can now obtain marriage licenses.
This ruling came after a Jackson County lawsuit was filed in June by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Missouri on behalf of two couples who were denied marriage licenses earlier this year.
This ruling puts Missouri with 32 other states and Washington D.C. who are currently issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
This may not be the end of the case, however.
This past week, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals broke the trend of the federal appeals courts with a 2-1 decision to uphold the bans in Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky.
The Sixth Circuit’s decision means it feels that states, whether by popular vote or the state legislature, should have the authority to decide questions on marriage.
If the Sixth Circuit is formally appealed, this means that at least four U.S. Supreme Court justices would have to vote on whether the case should be heard.
This sets up the nation’s highest court possibly hearing the case in the Spring of 2015 with a possible decision in June 2015.
Any action could also be delayed until the start of a new U.S. Supreme Court term in October 2015.
It is likely the gay marriage debate will continue until the U.S. Supreme Court makes an actual decision on the matter.
It can choose either to maintain power to the states or make a national provision that would be similar to the decisions coming from the federal appeals courts.
This will be a highly debated topic in 2015 and likely fodder for the 2016 election cycle.
So what do you think the U.S. Supreme Court should do? Should they allow states to make their own mandates on the issue or should the nation’s highest court rule in favor of the overrides authorized by the federal appeals courts?
Vote on our online poll, located at www.vandalialeader.com.