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What now, in wake of 'dramatic' same-sex marriage ruling?

The battle over same-sex marriage continues.

In what a recent media article termed a “dramatic ruling,” one of the country’s federal appeals courts held last week that various existing bans on gay marriage in states under its appellate jurisdiction are constitutional and can remain intact.

That ruling contrasts mightily with recent judicial outcomes in other federal circuits, where courts ruled such bans are unconstitutional and must be overturned.

Until now, the United States Supreme Court has shown a strong disinclination to formally confront the issue. In appeals brought by various state officials following the striking down of bans in their states, the court simply stated earlier this year that it would not take any of the cases. Many commentators have viewed that response as indicative of Supreme Court justices’ general support of gay marriage.

The recent ruling cited above, pursuant to which the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld bans in four states, might be the catalyst that now forces the Supreme Court to enter the melee and bring consistency to judicial outcomes nationally in cases addressing same-sex marriage.

It is a material understatement to note that states across the nation are split on the matter. Although a clear majority of states have enacted legislation that supports gay marriage, a solid minority of states continue to oppose same-sex unions, with existing bans that deem the practice unlawful.

Georgia is one of those states. Although Georgia falls under the federal appellate jurisdiction of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a Supreme Court ruling on the recent 6th Circuit decision would be binding on Georgia.

In other words, if the Supreme Court wades into the fray and ultimately proclaims that gay marriage is countenanced under the U.S. Constitution, the marriage bans currently existing in Georgia and 14 other states would become illegal.

We will be sure to stay abreast of material developments that occur in this matter and timely report them to readers.

Source: USA TODAY, "Both sides eager for Supreme Court fight on gay marriage," Richard Wolf, Nov. 7, 2014

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