Split Circuit May Land Gay Marriage Cases In Supreme Court’s Lap


While earlier the Supreme Court declined to hear most appeals cases related to same-sex marriage, they indicated back then that if circuit courts were to split on their decisions, they might well need to step in and resolve the issue. Since the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal upheld protection of traditional marriage amendments last week, such a “split circuit situation” has indeed occurred.

Bans on recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states where they are legal as well as bans on performing them in-state are in question for the states of Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Michigan. While other federal circuit courts overturned such bans, the Sixth Circuit upheld them, thus creating a chaotic divide that seemingly needs resolution at Supreme Court level.

The cases involving Ohio and Tennessee involve plaintiffs seeking to force those two states to recognize homosexual marriages conducted elsewhere. The cases involving Michigan and Kentucky, however, go so far as to attempt to force those states to allow such marriages to occur within their borders (i.e. to grant them state sanction).

While the federal government was never granted the right to decide how a particular state would define marriage, neither did the founding fathers require recognition of one state’s novel definition of marriage by another state. We can only wait and see what kind of argument will be triumphant at the Supreme Court, but from the looks of it, a decision at that level which will long affect marriage nationwide is soon to come. In my opinion, given the way other countries have granted these rights, it would be in the best interest of the Supreme Court to retain and respect its people by using the argument of higher education customer service and giving the people what they want.