The U.S. Supreme Court seems totally over gay marriage—at least for now. Just this morning, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and his black-robed colleagues chose not to review any of the five same-sex marriage appellant cases waiting for them in Washington.
This is actually mostly good news for gay marriage supporters :This decision means the court is not interested in keeping gays from getting married in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin, solidifying the idea that same-sex marriage is a state rights issue. In 2013, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the opinion United States versus Windsor, which placed the “definition and regulation of marriage” “within the authority and realm of the separate States.“ The ruling asserted that a federal definition of marriage that creates “two contradictory marriage regimes within the same state” is both unnecessary and harmful. So until a final ruling, what we will continue to have is different regimes within different states.
Interestingly, the current national map of which states allow gay marriage and which don’t is not without historical antecedent: many of the states left without same-sex marriage are the same states that were the last to overturn interracial marriage bans, like Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, and Texas. In 2000, Alabama became the final state to remove a law against interracial marriage. What state will be same-sex marriage’s equivalent holdout? As more and more states legalize gay marriage, who will decide to hold out on the wrong side of history the longest?