Gay marriage proponents scored a pair of victories on the eve of the anniversary of a historic Supreme Court gay rights decision.
A federal judge on Wednesday struck down Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban, the latest in a string of consecutive court victories for the movement. Meanwhile, the issue got its first appellate level ruling — this one on Utah’s ban — in the past year, moving the marriage issue one step closer to a full Supreme Court hearing.
The decisions come a day before the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling striking down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act and thereby granting federal recognition of married same-sex couples. That ruling, and the constitutional arguments it contained, have been cited repeatedly in more than a dozen federal court rulings in which judges have found same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional.
“The court has never witnessed a phenomenon throughout the federal court system as is presented with this issue,” U.S. District Judge Richard L. Young wrote in his ruling on the Indiana ban.
In less than a year, every federal district court to consider the issue has reached the same conclusion in thoughtful and thorough opinions – laws prohibiting the celebration and recognition of same-sex marriages are unconstitutional. It is clear that the fundamental right to marry shall not be deprived to some individuals based solely on the person they choose to love. In time, Americans will look at the marriage of couples such as Plaintiffs, and refer to it simply as a marriage – not a same-sex marriage. These couples, when gender and sexual orientation are taken away, are in all respects like the family down the street. The Constitution demands that we treat them as such.
Young did not issue a stay on his ruling, meaning same-sex couples may begin marrying immediately, according to the Indianapolis Star. The case was brought by Lambda Legal, a gay marriage advocacy organization. Every state with a same-sex marriage ban is defending, or has had to defend, it in court.
The judges in the Utah decision immediately put their own ruling on hold, so it can be appealed. Same-sex marriage is legal in 19 states and the District of Columbia, according to the AP.