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Opening Arguments

A gay old time

In case you blinked and missed it, gay marriage just became the law of the land in Indiana:

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to decide once and for all whether states can ban gay marriage, a surprise move that will allow gay men and women to marry in five states where same-sex weddings were previously forbidden.

By rejecting appeals in cases involving Virginia, Oklahoma, Utah, Wisconsin and Indiana, the court left intact lower-court rulings that had struck down the bans in those states. But the high court's action means there will be no imminent national ruling on the issue, with litigation in states where gay marriage is still banned likely to continue.

"Any time same-sex couples are extended marriage equality is something to celebrate, and today is a joyous day for thousands of couples across America who will immediately feel the impact of today's Supreme Court action," Chad Griffin, president of the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement.

Other states under the jurisdiction of appeals courts that have struck down the bans will also be affected by the Supreme Court's decision, meaning the number of states with gay marriage is likely to quickly jump from 19 to 30. The other states would be North Carolina, West Virginia, South Carolina, Wyoming, Kansas and Colorado.

Yeah, well, OK, no "imminent national ruling," but that's as close to a moot point as you're ever likely to see. If it's legal in 30 states, gay marriage isn't going to stay forbidden very long in the others.

I've been saying for months now that the court has to act just to reolve the issue with the Constitution's full faith and credid clause, so count me as one of the ones who was surprised at its decision to decline review. (Still they they will have to, eventually). But maybe the justices thought the issue was moving so quickly to resolution in so many places that it wasn't necessary for them to act.

And they're still the ones (five of them anyway) who set the issue up to be resolved so quickly. It was hard for lower courts to interpret the partial invalidation of the Defense of Marriage Act as anything other than a green light for gay marriage.