More federal court cases are coming to determine the legality of same-sex marriage bans. On Monday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco is scheduled to hear arguments in regard to the bans in Hawaii, Nevada and Idaho. This past Thursday, 32 states requested that the Supreme Court make a final decision on whether the bans stay in place or not.
Same-sex marriage supporters have been racking up victories as more and more courts invalidate the bans that prevent gay and lesbian couples from marrying. In San Francisco, the federal appeals courts have already extended protections to lesbians and gays to prevent discrimination this year, and back in 2012 they struck down the ban on gay marriage for the state of California. On Monday the courts will hear new arguments on behalf of Nevada, Hawaii and Idaho as well as from the supporters of same-sex marriage.
On Thursday, Sept. 4, filings were made on behalf of at least five religious organizations as well as 17 states in which gay and lesbian marriage is not allowed and 15 states in which the marriages are allowed. This filing was made to have the U.S. Supreme Court make a decision once and for all on the validity of the bans as well as the states’ right to implement such prohibitions. The brief to the Supreme Court asks that a decision be made to end the division that has ensued across the country as to whether or not the Constitution allows for same-sex marriage.
Those against gay and lesbian marriages are using arguments about religious freedoms and beliefs during their court cases, as well as more common arguments such as the idea of marriage being between one man and one woman. Child rearing is another argument used in regards to the ban on same-sex marriage. In the last ruling that nullified the bans in both Wisconsin and Indiana, one of the ruling judges on the case addressed the arguments being used.
In many cases the judges overruling the bans have very clearly outlined the facts of the case and how the arguments are invalid in their use. Judge Posner, one of the ruling judges for the Indiana and Wisconsin case, emphasized certain points that addressed child rearing as well as tradition. He called into question how denying children two married parents helps them in the long run. Posner also pointed out that tradition is not a justification for action and compared it to shaking hands.
While more of the court cases make a decision in regards to same-sex marriage, the ultimate decision may in fact be up to the Supreme Court. Although the Supreme Court is not obligated to take the case, many different organizations and government entities have turned to the higher court in an effort to determine whether the ban does or does not violate the Constitution. Until such time as the Supreme Court decides to step in, it is still up to each state to make the decision on whether to allow same-sex marriages to proceed.
By Kimberley Spinney