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MAJOR BREAKING NEWS! Supreme Court denies same-sex marriage petitions!

WASHINGTON DC -- The U.S. Supreme Court today denied the same-sex marriage petitions seeking appeal of appellate court rulings that gay-marriage bans in Indiana, Wisconsin, Utah, Oklahoma, and Virginia were unconstitutional.

This means that gay marriage will resume in those states as soon as the stays are lifted, many of which are happening today. And more state bans will fall in the jurisdictions of those appellate courts. Other states affected by this move will be West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming.

This also means that the high court is leaning toward allowing lower court rulings to become the law of the land, but is falling short on granting gay marriage as a universal right across the U.S.

THE REACTION

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry:

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court leaves in force five favorable marriage rulings reached in three federal appellate courts, ensuring the freedom to marry for millions more Americans around the country. The Court’s letting stand these victories means that gay couples will soon share in the freedom to marry in 30 states, representing 60% of the American people. But we are one country, with one Constitution, and the Court’s delay in affirming the freedom to marry nationwide prolongs the patchwork of state-to-state discrimination and the harms and indignity that the denial of marriage still inflicts on too many couples in too many places. As waves of freedom to marry litigation continue to surge, we will continue to press the urgency and make the case that America – all of America -- is ready for the freedom to marry, and the Supreme Court should finish the job.”

With the Supreme Court’s decision not to review the cases, favorable marriage rulings in the Tenth Circuit, the Seventh Circuit, and the Fourth Circuit will soon go into effect. Marriage bans in every state within those circuits will be invalidated, adding Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Indiana and Wisconsin to the list of freedom to marry states. As a result of the Court’s decision, an additional 51 million Americans will live in a freedom to marry state, Freedom to Marry said.

In total, 41 federal and state courts in the past year have ruled in favor of the freedom to marry for same-sex couples with only one federal and one state ruling going the other way. Five of these marriage wins were before the Supreme Court for possible review, the organization said.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign:

“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,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin. “But let me be clear, the complex and discriminatory patchwork of marriage laws that was prolonged today by the Supreme Court is unsustainable. The only acceptable solution is nationwide marriage equality and we recommit to ourselves to securing that ultimate victory as soon as possible.”

Theodore B. Olson of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Plaintiff’s lead co-counsel in Bostic v. Schaefer in Virginia:

“This is a momentous victory for the constitutional promise of equality, dignity and justice for all Americans. Today, I am proud to call myself a Virginian. With the Commonwealth’s discriminatory marriage ban finally and conclusively struck down, we are one giant step closer to the day that all Americans, not just Virginians, can enjoy their right to marriage equality under the law.”

David Boies of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, Plaintiff’s lead co-counsel in Bostic v. Schaefer in Virginia:

“Those who drew and ratified our Constitution over two centuries ago set out to form a more perfect Union. Today, that goal has once again been realized. The unjust and unlawful discrimination imposed by laws like Virginia’s marriage ban have seen their final days. Our Constitution promises freedom and justice for all, and today that promise was fulfilled for thousands of gay and lesbian Virginians and their families.”

AFER Executive Director Adam Umhoefer:

“A majority of Americans, more than 30 state and federal courts, scores of political and religious leaders, countless Fortune 500 Companies, and our President have all long believed in the promise of equality for gay and lesbian Americans. While today brings justice to 5 more states, there are still 26 states that treat their gay and lesbian neighbors like second-class citizens. We hope that the Supreme Court’s order today will lead to all 50 states enjoying the freedom to marry very soon.”

Plaintiff Tim Bostic:

“What a great day to be a Virginian, and a great day to be an American. Today, we have made history in the South, and I can’t wait for the day that all of our fellow Americans feel the same way and have the same rights that we do today.”

Emily, daughter of plaintiffs Carol Schall and Mary Townley:

“Because of this decision, one of my most important dreams has finally come true: The dream that my family will be recognized just like every other family in Virginia. I am so thankful that other children like me can finally hold their heads high knowing their families matter and are finally equal. I cannot wait for the day that all American kids, no matter where they live and no matter who their parents are, are treated equally.”

Jennifer Drobac, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law Professor:

“Denial of cert means the dominoes start falling. Stays that have been in effect expire. To deny cert means there will be activity. But, [the Supreme Court] is not responsible for the activity they didn’t set up, so they’re not going to take the heat.”

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Ken Williams is Editor in Chief of SDGLN and GLBTNN. He can be reached at ken@sdgln.com, @KenSanDiego on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to 888-442-9639, ext. 713.