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2015: The Year of Marriage Equality America? Maybe; Maybe Not

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Will they, or won’t they? Will they, or won’t they? Even their hairdressers don’t know for sure.

During its current term, will the Supreme Court of the United States hear one of the many petitions filed by gay and lesbian couples in five states that still prohibit gay and lesbian nuptials? Will America’s highest court, the heart and soul of our judicial system, decide the issue of Marriage Equality America once and for all time, or will lower courts continue to make Marriage Equality in the United States, a matter of catch as catch can, with gay couples married in one state, not married in another one

If our highest court does hear one of the cases during its current term, then it is virtually certain than the issue of Marriage Equality America will be settled, one way or another, before SCOTUS’s 2015 term ends in June.

Marriage Equality from sea to shining sea is a blazing hot potato the Supremes hoped they could avoid touching.

For a while, it seemed as if SCOTUS’s wish would be granted by the Appeals Courts Genie. That’s because, after The Supremes partially struck down DOMA in June 2013, more than twenty lower court victories favored Marriage Equality.

So, last fall, when state officials petitioned SCOTUS to take on the appeals courts, the Supremes refused.

As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg put it at the time: “The lack of a split in the appeals courts made the Supreme Court consideration of the issue unnecessary.”

Then came the November Surprise: A federal appeals court, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, ruled 2-1 that states have the right to set rules for marriage and that changing a definition that dates back to “the earliest days of human history” is better accomplished through the political process than through the courts.

With that decision, Americans in general, and The Supremes in particular, heard their first discouraging words from the appeals courts, since before the partial striking down of DOMA, in 2013.

That is how and why the Marriage Equality ball has been returned to SCOTUS’s court.

Since the November surprise, chaos has reigned in the world of Marriage Equality America.

Gay marriage became a reality in Florida, January 6, 2015. The Sunshine State is the thirty-sixth of these United States where gay marriage is legal. That means a full seventy percent of Americans now live in states where same-sex couples can legally tie the knot.

Not surprisingly, the two 6th Circuit Court of Appeals judges who delivered the November Surprise, voting to uphold Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee’s bans on Marriage Equality are Republicans, both of them appointed by George W. Bush.

Judge Martha Craig Daugherty, the 6th Circuit Court’s dissenting judge, is a Democrat, appointed by Bill Clinton.

And she has been not shy about mocking November’s majority opinion, claiming it “wholly fails to grapple with the relevant constitutional question.” She took another swipe at Judge Jeffrey Sutton’s written opinion for treating “both the issues and the litigants as mere abstractions,” rather than as real people for whom the denial of marriage rights imperils their legal status as spouses and parents to their children.

The Supremes have until the end of January o decide whether or not they will consider one of the gay marriage cases during their current term. If they do, Marriage Equality America may become a reality months before Apple introduces iPhone 6S, this fall. If SCOTUS demurs, then we must wait for that court’s 2016 Election Year Term.

Meantime, although some highly conservative Christians groups are on record as saying they will resist Marriage Equality America, regardless of what the Supremes decide, other, more progressive Christian groups, claim they cannot resist a pro Marriage Equality decision.

As Brendan Robertson, national spokesman for the group Evangelicals for Marriage Equality states, “You can be a devout, Bible-believing evangelical and support the right of same-sex couples to be recognized by the government as married.”

And Justin Lee, executive director of the Gay Christian Network adds, “Christians are increasingly saying that they need to stand up for LGBT equality no matter what they believe theologically – not because they are Americans, but because they are followers of Christ.”

Be it sooner or later, SCOTUS must eventually take on the hot potato issue of Marriage Equality, finally ending the stress and chaos endured by America’s married gay couples who are not legally married in every one of their country’s fifty states. move to other states where their marriages are deemed illegal.

As one half of a gay American married couple, I state quite simply, “Je suis marie (married).”

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