This week has been a pretty significant one when it comes to news regarding the issue of same-sex marriage.
First of all, the U.S. Supreme Court decided it would not hear appeals regarding a set of cases in which federal courts had struck down the same-sex marriage bans of five states: Wisconsin, Virginia, Utah, Oklahoma and Indiana. As a result of the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the cases, we may be seeing same-sex marriage opening up in the states with bans in the federal circuits the cases came from. The circuit Texas is a part of, the 5th Circuit, was not one of these circuits, so the decision has no direct effect on Texas’s ban.
There was, however, other news this week that directly involves Texas’s same-sex marriage ban. A development has occurred in a major case regarding the ban.
The case is the state’s appeal of a decision a federal judge made earlier this year that the state’s ban was unconstitutional. This striking down was stayed pending appeal, so, currently, the ban remains active.
One of the two same-sex couples who are involved in the lawsuit that led to the federal judge’s decision to rule the ban unconstitutional recently asked the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, the court that will be deciding on the state’s appeal, to expedite the appeal. The couple, a lesbian couple, made this request on the grounds that one of them is pregnant and that the 5th’s Circuit’s eventual decision in the case could have impacts on who will automatically gets parental rights regarding the child.
The 5th Circuit made a decision on Tuesday to grant this request and expedite the appeal’s oral arguments. It is not known yet when the oral arguments will occur, but it is thought they may occur before year’s end.
Thus, it appears that we may be seeing a decision on the appeal sooner than we otherwise would have.
What ultimately happens with this appeal will likely have significant impacts on whether or not the same-sex marriage ban will continue to be the law of the land here in Texas, an issue which affects a great many same-sex couples in the state. Thus, the upcoming oral arguments in this case will be something to keep an eye on.
Source: San Antonio Express-News, “Federal court agrees to fast-track Texas gay marriage case,” Lauren McGaughy, Oct. 7, 2014