By Emily Belz, World.com
The U.S. Supreme Court opened its fall term today with a big surprise: It denied all seven pending petitions on same-sex marriage cases. The rejection will allow gay marriages to proceed in Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and Utah where judges struck down state laws that defined marriage as between one man and one woman.
The order also likely means the end of traditional marriage laws within the geography of the circuits where the Supreme Court allowed gay marriage rulings to stand. For example, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Virginia’s traditional marriage law and the Supreme Court today rejected an appeal of that decision. That means judges within the 4th Circuit have the authoritative precedent to strike down North Carolina’s law defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Six states, just to start, are likely to see their traditional marriage laws go down in court as a result of this order: North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming.
Many court observers believed the court would take up one of the same-sex marriage petitions and decide the issue nationwide this term. By denying all the cases, the court has punted the question of the constitutionality of traditional marriage laws. But in effect, the denials will allow lower courts to legalize gay marriage piecemeal.
From the Reformed Pastor: SCOTUS on Gay Marriage: Proceed
From the Anglican Crumudgeon: Scalia’s Prophecy Fulfilled (Sub Silentio)
From Russell D. Moore: Same-Sex Marriage and the Supreme Court: What Now for the Church?
From R. Albert Mohler Jr.: The Vindication of Antonin Scalia — A Sad Milestone for Marriage and Morality