The barriers to marriage equality in the United States have been collapsing with astonishing speed. State Courts and District Courts have struck down state bans on same-sex marriage in 10 states since January 2014. The last four occurred in the last three weeks alone.

A total of 18 states have struck down or otherwise challenged bans on same-sex marriage since the Windsor v. United States decision made the federal government recognize same-sex marriage. Many of these lower court decisions have been stayed (put on hold) pending appeals to higher courts.

This is setting up what will probably be a final showdown in the U.S. Supreme Court. This time, it's going to be winner-take-all. Why? The Court will almost certainly have to rule as to whether or not a state has any legitimate purpose in banning same-sex marriage.

The standard arguments used to justify the bans-- "tradition" and "history" and "health"-- didn't hold up in the lower courts and didn't save DOMA. Will these things impress the Roberts Supreme Court or will marriage equality finally triumph over religiously-motivated bigotry?

My early forecast: BIG win for freedom and equality.

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States that have challenged or ended bans on same-sex marriage...

Since Windsor v. U.S. ended DOMA:

DELAWARE, RHODE ISLAND, MINNESOTA, NEW JERSEY, HAWAII, ILLINOIS, NEW MEXICO, UTAH

Since January 2014:

OKLAHOMA (January 14) U.S. District Court Ruling
KENTUCKY (February 12) U.S. District Court Ruling
VIRGINIA (February 13) U.S. District Court Ruling
TEXAS (February 26) Federal Judge Orlando Garcia ruling
MICHIGAN (March) U.S. District Court Ruling
OHIO (April 14) U.S. District Court Ruling
ARKANSAS (May 9) Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza (stayed by Arkansas Supreme Court)
IDAHO (May 9) U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Wagahoff ruling
OREGON (This week) U.S. District Court ruling
PENNSYLVANIA (This week) U.S. District Court ruling

(Source)

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Update: There is now just ONE state-- North Dakota-- out of the 31 states with bans on same-sex marriage that is not facing a legal challenge that is (or will likely end up) in federal court. (Source)

Update (May 25, 2014): The ban on same-sex marriage in North Dakota is being challenged! It'll take four to six weeks for the suit to be filed. (Source)

By July it'll be unanimous. Every US state that has outlawed marriage equality will have been hauled into court to explain the legitimate purpose for doing so. Having none, the bans are overturned, stayed, and go before a US Court of Appeals. One of these cases from 31 states is bound to end up in front of the Supreme Court sooner or later.

Tags: DOMA, equality, gay, marriage, rights, same-sex

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The tides are turning and it is awesome!

I hope you are right.  I don't even understand why this is an issue.  Of course I know the god-botherers think same-sex marriages are an abomination, but my thought to them is, "Well, don't do it then."  They should not get to say that nobody can do it.  I think the courts are moving in the direction they must.  This should not even be an issue, if you ask me.

It bothers very much members of the American theocracy when someone tells them they can no longer openly discriminate against those who choose to live their life independent of religion, especially mainstream Xtian values. It surprised the hell out of me when Arkansas finally got it's head out of it's ass. Even with a Republican controlled House & Senate.

I'm glad that the LGBT community is excited. However, I urge the excited to care less about what government and religion care about your lives. Religion and government are merely temporary popular traditions.

As a result of the overturning of DOMA I am part way through my application to reside in the USA on a permanent basis, so that I can live with my wife. I don't think Andy has really grasped the concept of that freedom. I think his comment was 'off the cuff' and has no defensibility.
Why thank you, young man :)

Point mistaken.

As usual.

I urge the excited to care less about what government and religion care about your lives.

Er... no.  Or at least 50% no.  Maybe (I'll qualify that in a moment) you can urge people to not care what religion cares about your life.  The government, on the other hand, has the power to force you to do their bidding or give you some nasty consequences when you don't comply.

Religion ought, by itself, to be toothless, but it can--and often has and often does--get the government to do its bidding.

Count on Antonin Scalia to write an angry dissent -- perhaps insisting that the Court shouldn't have heard the case.

 

Having none, the bans are overturned, stayed, and end up before a US Court of Appeals.

No legitimate purpose?  No legitimate purpose?!?   But... But.... Homos!!!

All sarcasm aside (I hope you got a laugh out of that.  On the other hand, where's the satire?), hopefully your prediction is borne out and this whole sad thing is going to be behind us soon. 

(I believe Colorado still has a ban in its constitution BUT passed a civil unions bill almost as good as the real thing.  But I no longer follow the issue that closely and I could very well be wrong.  Once my gay friend on a student visa was able to get his marriage recognized by the feds and was no longer under threat of having to leave, it became a lot less important to me personally and I was satisfied with the general knowledge that things are moving the right way.  Hence I don't know if anyone is suing Colorado to overturn the ban on full-fledged marriage, in order to get the remaining part of the enchilada.)

I live in a very conservative area (what with Young Life, the Navigators, Fuckus on the Family, and New Life Church all near here), and with that bunch of suspects here that of course includes social issues conservatism to a great degree.  I hear a lot more voiced bigotry against homosexuals than I do against blacks and Hispanics.  I'll hear complaints about Air Force Academy cadets not being allowed to be full frontal Christians in almost the same breath as I hear complaints about homosexuals "promoting" homosexuality (whatever the hell that is supposed to mean). 

Makes my head spin.

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