U.S. Supreme Court To Determine Constitutionality of Gay Marriage

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court Justices have said they will determine this spring whether the Constitution requires all states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and whether every U.S. state must recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

Such answers could bring marriage equality to the remaining 14 states that have bans against same-sex unions, or possibly reverse pro-gay rights' rulings that have swept the nation.

In April, the justices will review a ruling by Sixth Circuit, which upheld bans on same-sex marriage in four states: Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.

In November, the federal appeals court that oversees those four states upheld their same-sex marriage bans, which reversed pro-gay rights' rulings of federal judges in each state.

In October, the justices' decision to not hear appeals supporting state bans allowed some of those lower court rulings to take effect. .

With Florida becoming the 36th state to recognize same-sex unions, the Human Rights' Campaign said that about 70 percent of Americans currently live in states where same-sex marriages are legally recognized. That's a jump from about 11 percent in 2012.

Besides the states in the Sixth Circuit, ten other states also prohibit same-sex marriages.

In Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, South Dakota and Texas, judges struck down anti-gay marriage laws, however the bans remain in effect pending appeals. There have been no rulings on lawsuits in Alabama, Georgia, Nebraska, and North Dakota.

Louisiana is the only U.S. state that has seen its gay marriage ban upheld by a federal district judge.

The case for same-sex marriage will be argued in April and a decision is expected in late June.

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Jonathan Kendall
Contact: Jonathan Kendall