Joy, dismay as gay marriage advocates, opponents assess 6th Circuit ruling

Jean Dawell of Delhi joined hundred of others along with the group Why Marriage Matters Ohio at a rally for gay marriage in Lytle Park, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014 in Cincinnati. Jeff Swinger, Cincinnati Enquirer (AP)

Jean Dawell of Delhi joined hundred of others along with the group Why Marriage Matters Ohio at a rally for gay marriage in Lytle Park, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014 in Cincinnati. Jeff Swinger, Cincinnati Enquirer (AP)

Jean Dawell of Delhi joined hundred of others along with the group Why Marriage Matters Ohio at a rally for gay marriage in Lytle Park, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014 in Cincinnati.

One side was euphoric, the other dismayed, but both foes and supporters of same-sex marriage swiftly turned their attention to the U.S. Supreme Court after an against-the-grain appeals court ruling upheld bans or restrictions on gay marriage in four states.

The 2-1 ruling Thursday by the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — affecting laws in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee — ran counter to a wave of recent federal court rulings striking down state bans on same-sex marriage and boosting the number of states that allow it to 32.

“We are ecstatic,” said National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown, an outspoken foe of same-sex unions. “The other side was counting their chickens before they’re hatched.”

Brown welcomed the new possibility that a split in appeals court rulings would oblige the Supreme Court to take up the issue, which it sidestepped last month.

Chase Strangio, an attorney in the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project, described the 6th Circuit ruling as “an outlier that’s incompatible with the 50 other rulings that uphold fairness for all families.”

“We will be filing for Supreme Court review right away and hope that through this deeply disappointing ruling we will be able to bring a uniform rule of equality to the entire country,” he said.

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In Michigan, key figures on both sides of the issue welcomed the prospect of Supreme Court engagement.

“Onward and upward. We’re ready to go,” said Carole Stanyar, a lawyer for two Detroit-area nurses who challenged Michigan’s ban on gay marriage.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who defended the ban in court, said of the Supreme Court, “The sooner they rule, the better, for Michigan and the country.”

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., who has criticized Schuette and GOP Gov. Rick Snyder for defending the ban, expressed disappointment at the 6th Circuit ruling, but added, “I know in the long view of history it will only be a small setback in the ultimate pursuit of equality.”

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