U.S. News


6 Same-Sex Marriage Cases May Lead To Supreme Court Showdown

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has started hearing arguments from six different same-sex marriage cases across four different states.
Posted at 10:06 PM, Aug 06, 2014

Three times now U.S. appeals courts have ruled against same-sex marriage bans in Utah, Oklahoma, and Virginia — now there's a chance that a fourth will either uphold, or rule against, bans in Michigan and Kentucky. 

A panel of three judges with the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati started hearing arguments from six different same-sex marriage cases Wednesday. 

Three of the cases involve out-of-state same-sex marriage recognition in Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky. Two more revolve around state bans on same-sex marriage in Michigan and Kentucky. And a sixth involves the recognition of same-sex marriages on death certificates in Ohio. 


​As The Christian Science Monitornotes, whatever the decision is on all six of these cases, they are all expected to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court "for what could amount to a massive and final showdown over same-sex marriage."


That's something Utah has already done. The Salt Lake Tribune reported Tuesday that Utah became the first state to appeal a ruling against same-sex marriage bans to the Supreme Court. 

Last year, the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 in U.S. v. Windsor that the federal government could not constitutionally define marriage as being between a man and a woman. Since then, court after court has ruled against state same-sex marriage bans.

As to how this case will turn out? Well, the people who appointed the judge's to their seats could be an indication.

Two, Jeffrey S. Sutton and Deborah L. Cook, were appointed by President George W. Bush, a Republican. The third, Martha Craig Daughtrey, was appointed under Democrat President Bill Clinton. 

The Washington Post explains that while Cook and Daughtrey will most likely vote along the same lines of their respective presidential apointers, Sutton is the wild card:

"Sutton will be the most closely watched ... In one very significant case, Sutton was a surprise and disappointment to conservatives: He held that Congress had the power to pass the Affordable Care Act."

This most recent news follows rulings from the 4th Circuit Court in late July and the 10th Circuit Court in late June that both ruled in favor of same-sex marriage as a constitutional right.

So what happens if the Ohio court upholds the same-sex marriage bans and we get a circuit split between different courts? 

Well, in a phone interview with Bloomberg, a Scottsdale Arizona lawyer says, "In general, the circuit split is the golden ticket to the Supreme Court. I think the nationwide dynamic of this ... will have the Supreme Court taking a look at this regardless of whether there’s a circuit split.​"

So it looks like one way or another, we'll probably see the issue of same-sex marriage appear in front of the Supreme Court ... again. So far, 20 states allow same-sex marriage including the District of Columbia. 

This video includes images from Getty Images.