It's an exciting day for same-sex couples in five states! Today, the U.S. Supreme Court has declined the opportunity to review appeals courts seeking to uphold bans on gay marriage in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin, which means that legal, same-sex unions in these five states are now officially legal. America is one step closer to allowing gay marriage nationwide!
Officials in Virginia announced that marriages will begin commencing as soon as 1 p.m. today, while clerks in Marion County, Indiana, and Dane County, Wisconsin began issuing marriage licenses before noon.
"This is a historic and long overdue moment for our Commonwealth and our country," Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said in a statement.
Not reviewing the appeals courts rulings not only means that the Supreme Court is more at ease with these in-state decisions, but also that the number of states with legislation allowing gay marriage has swiftly increased to 24 from 19, in addition to the District of Columbia.
But, today's Supreme Courts proceedings also opens the door for six more states to follow suit: Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming. Soon, it seems, the number states allowing gay marriage will grow again from 24 to 30 making it legal in a majority of states.
"I'm blown away by this," James Esseks, a lawyer who runs the American Civil Liberties Union's legal efforts for gay marriage, told the Washington Post. "It is a watershed moment for the entire country."
While these rulings do not tackle the position of gay marriage in the constitution, it does show that the Supreme Court is more ready to get involved in this heated, nationwide debate. Those who watch the courts closely predict that there will be an overarching, national decision in the next year or two — especially after the Supreme Court struck down DOMA last year — but we'll have to wait and see.