Many states, including Texas, have bans in place against same-sex marriage. One significant question that arises in connection to such bans is: do such bans violate the U.S. Constitution?
This question has increasingly been coming before federal courts. Recently, two federal court decisions have come out against same-sex marriage bans.
The first decision was made in December and it regarded a case that involved Utah’s same-sex marriage ban. In the decision, the federal judge who heard the case ruled that the state’s ban was unconstitutional because it violated the guarantees of due process and equal protection.
The second decision was made earlier this week and it regarded a case that involved an amendment which had been put into Oklahoma’s constitution. The amendment limits marriage to opposite-sex couples. The federal judge who heard the case ruled that the amendment’s limit is in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Specifically, the judge ruled that the limit violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause by denying a government benefit to a certain class (in this case, same-sex couples) for irrational and arbitrary reasons.
These two decisions give rise to many interesting questions. Are these court decisions isolated events or are they the start of a trend of federal courts ruling against state same-sex marriage bans? If these two decisions end up being reviewed by a federal appeals court, will the appeals court uphold or reverse the decisions? If federal courts become more aggressive in making decisions on same-sex marriage bans, will the U.S. Supreme Court eventually decide to take a case on the issue? If so, what will the U.S. Supreme Court rule on the issue of whether or not state bans on same-sex marriage are constitutional?
Thus, it will be worth keeping an eye on what happens moving forward when it comes to federal court treatment of state same-sex marriage bans.
Source: CNN, “Federal judge: Oklahoma ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional,” Greg Botelho, Jan. 14, 2014