The fight over marriage rights for same-sex couples saw a swirl of activity at the state level on Wednesday, though some of the actions may have national implications. Four states saw action, or an explicit lack thereof:
- Among the most significant is likely the announcement by Utah’s Attorney General Sean Reyes that he intends to ask the Supreme Court to intervene in the legal battle over that state’s same-sex marriage ban. In a statement, his office said it plans to file a Petition for Writ of Certiorari—a formal request to intervene—with the U.S. Supreme Court in the coming weeks. If the court does so, it may issue a ruling that could affect same-sex marriage policies nationwide as soon as next year, which advocates for same-sex marriage are hopeful could be to their advantage.
- At the same time a Colorado state judge on Wednesday became the 16th judge to strike a state same-sex marriage ban since a pivotal Supreme Court ruling little more than a year ago requiring the federal government to recognize such unions. District Court Judge C. Scott Crabtree ruled that the state’s gay marriage ban—passed by 55 percent of voters in 2006—violates both the state and federal constitutions, but immediately put the effect of his ruling on hold pending an appeal.
- In Indiana, the office of Gov. Mike Pence (R) said the state won’t recognize hundreds of same-sex marriages performed in the time after a lower-court struck the ban, but before a federal court could put that decision’s effects on hold pending appeal.
- And Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito on Wednesday denied without comment an appeal to suspend a federal judge’s decision striking down Pennsylvania’s same-sex marriage ban. Gov. Tom Corbett (R) had abandoned a defense of the state’s same-sex marriage ban—struck in a May ruling—which prompted Schuylkill County Orphans’ Court Clerk Theresa Santai-Gaffney to reach out to the Supreme Court in appeal. Santai-Gaffney may still try another justice.