Sutton wrote in his majority opinion that lower courts remain bound by a one-sentence decision dismissing a gay marriage case from Minnesota in 1972, even though other courts have said the decision no longer carries any force. He also disagreed with the other courts when he said judges should let the political process play out, not impose their will through judicial decree.
One last note on judges: All the judges who have voted to uphold anti-gay marriage laws are Republican appointees. Rulings striking down state bans have been made by Democratic and Republican appointees alike.
What is the status for same-sex marriage cases in other appeals courts?
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans has scheduled argument in January in cases from Texas, where a judge struck down the state’s ban, and Louisiana, where the ban was upheld.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has asked the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta to review a judge’s ruling that state law limiting marriage to a man and a woman is unconstitutional.
Cases also are making their way through courts in five states covered by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis that do not permit same-sex couples to marry. A state judge and a federal judge in Missouri have ruled in favor of same-sex couples, but those rulings do not apply statewide.
Same-sex marriage is legal in 32 states, the District of Columbia and parts of Missouri.
Kansas, Montana and South Carolina are continuing their legal fight against same-sex marriage, despite rulings from federal appeals courts that oversee those states that concluded gay and lesbian couples have the right to marry.
Gay and lesbian couples may not marry in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, most of Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.
The Supreme Court last year struck down part of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act that forbade the federal government to grant tax, health and other benefits to legally married same-sex couples.
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