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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Marriage equality marches on

Posted By on Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 6:47 AM

A federal district judge in Colorado yesterday struck down that state's ban on same-sex marriage, but put the ruling on hold for an appellate court ruling.

The Human Rights Campaign provided this useful summary of the march of equality.

There are over 70 court cases challenging discriminatory marriage bans across the country in 30 of the 31 states where such a ban exists, plus Puerto Rico. Cases from eleven states are currently pending before five federal appeals courts. The Sixth Circuit holds the distinction of being the only federal appeals court to date that will consider marriage cases from all states within its jurisdiction. In total, 33 states either have marriage equality or have seen state marriage bans struck down as unconstitutional in court. Since the Supreme Court’s historic marriage rulings last year, there have been 18 consecutive federal court decisions that bans on marriage equality are unconstitutional. These rulings have come from judges appointed by both Democrat and Republican presidents.

Gallup puts support for marriage equality at 55 percent – an astonishing 15 points increase from just 5 years ago – with other polls showing support at even higher margins. And support for same-sex marriage rights continues to grow in virtually every demographic group. According to ABC News / Washington Post, 77 percent of adults under age 30 favor marriage equality. 40 percent of Republicans – an all-time high and jump of 16 points in under two years – now support marriage for gay and lesbian couples, while the number of Catholics supporting marriage has grown to 62 percent, according to the New York Times. These numbers continue to grow, with no indication that support will slow down. 

In Arkansas, the ban has been struck down by Circuit Judge Chris Piazza and his ruling is on appeal to the Arkansas Supreme Court. A separate suit is challenging the ban in federal district court. A summary judgment has been requested. Will Arkansas be No. 19? Will the Arkansas Supreme Court break from the rest of the country in its interpretation of what equal protection and due process mean? Signals so far aren't encouraging. And Attorney General Dustin McDaniel seems determined to string the appeal out into 2015, when he'll be gone from office and when a couple of new court members, one a declared "values" Republican, Rhonda Wood, take office. Might Arkansas again by the banner-carrier for interposition? Republicans fervently hope so.

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