Debate was fierce leading up the the Supreme Court's much-anticipated ruling on gay marriage, with many publications calling it the defining issue of the of their next session. However, the Supreme Court has sidestepped making a decision on the issue by refusing to hear the cases brought against gay marriage in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin, reported The Associated Press.
The states who brought their complaints to the Supreme Court were attempting to uphold gay marriage bands in their states which had previously been struck down by appellate courts. Same sex marriage had been on hold in each of the states pending the Supreme Court's ruling. With the refusal, couples will soon be able to wed.
Six other states are currently waiting out a similar battle to join gay marriage-performing states, but it is likely that because of the Supreme Court's decision their appellate court will simply follow suit. If so, the total number of states with legal same sex marriage will reach 30, tipping the nation's battle for gay marriage over the halfway point.
Response from conservatives to the Supreme Court's decision is expected to be heated. Last year, the Supreme Court similarly refused to hear a case, therefore allowing gay marriage in California, despite the voter-approved Prop 8 banning the practice. The Supreme Court also extended federal benefits to gay couples previously denied under the Defense of Marriage Act. The DOMA case, United States v. Windsor has been used by several lower courts in order to allow gay marriage based on the Supreme Court's ruling.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts indicated in his dissenting opinion on Windsor that the court would later further define the legality of gay marriage when faced with another case, reported The New York Times.
"The court does not have before it, and the logic of its opinion does not decide the distinct question whether the states, in the exercise of their 'historic and essential authority to define the marital relation,' may continue to utilize the traditional definition of marriage. We may in the future have to resolve challenges to state marriage definitions affecting same-sex couples. That issue, however, is not before us in this case."Conservatives are sure to react with fury to the Supreme Court's denial of even hearing out gay marriage bans in Indiana, Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia and Wisconsin. Many were hoping that this case could be a turning point backward in their fight to defend marriage. Below conservatives react to the Supreme Court's action on gay marriage last year.[Image via Flickr, Wikipedia]