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Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision: What does it mean?

There are a lot of hot-button topics on display in the realm of family law these days. Alimony-centered concerns are front and center in several states. The rights of fathers in adoption matters have been underscored in several prominent cases. Stories regarding marital contracts -- both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements -- never seem to stray far from the front pages of national media outlets.

One additional family law subject that has undeniably grabbed the public’s attention in a big way in Georgia and nationally over the past several years is same-sex marriage.

And as high-profile as that subject has become, issues surrounding gay marriage were placed under an even more glaring spotlight earlier this week pursuant to a United States Supreme Court response to appeals brought by several states challenging lower-court rejections of same-sex marriage bans.

Many people across the country had understandably hoped for a clearly spelled out court ruling providing for national uniformity.

What they got instead was a no-comment rejection of appeals brought by five states that challenged judicial reversals of their gay marriage bans. That leaves the door open to further appeals down the road and a continuing national debate on the subject.

It also leaves the lower-court rulings in place, though, which encourages some same-sex marriage advocates, and it could be construed as a message to lower courts that they are on the right track when they strike down state bans on gay marriage.

One cited possibility for why the nation’s highest tribunal failed to issue a formal ruling in the matter is that the court wants to see the issue further fleshed out by additional lower-court decisions. Perhaps, too, the court is simply too divided presently to reach any agreement on the subject.

Same-sex marriage is obviously a watershed topic at this juncture of American history. We will keep our readers timely advised of any material developments that emerge through the courts or on Capitol Hill.

Source: Reuters, “Supreme Court dodges gay marriage, allowing weddings in five more states,” Lawrence Hurley, Oct. 6, 2014 

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