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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Monday, December 11, 2023
Gay Marriage

Same-sex couples can now apply for marriage licenses across five states including Virginia, Utah, Oklahoma and Indiana. 

High court declines to hear same-sex marriage case, marriages may resume

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear appeals Monday from Wisconsin and four other states, paving the way for the immediate issuance of same-sex marriage licenses both in Dane County and statewide.

The high court gave no explanation for its rationale in declining to hear cases from Indiana, Oklahoma, Virginia, Utah and Wisconsin.    

Following the decision, Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell announced his office would begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples immediately.

In June, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb sided with eight same-sex couples attempting to overturn the state’s constitutional ban but eventually stayed the order pending appeal.

The three-judge panel of the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago upheld Crabb’s ruling. Wisconsin Attorney General J.B Van Hollen appealed the decision to the Supreme Court a month later. 

Van Hollen conceded defeat in his attempts to preserve the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

“It is now our obligation to comply with those court decisions,” Van Hollen said in a statement.

The high court’s lack of action immediately allows for marriages in those five states but the ruling could affect up to six more.

These states—Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming—are under the jurisdiction of the same appellate courts as the original five states. If the ruling were applied to those states as well, same-sex couples living in 30 states would be allowed to marry, according to the Associated Press. 

“For now, it is definitely the case that same-sex marriage exists in Wisconsin,” University of Wisconsin-Madison political science professor David Canon said.

Canon noted, however, that the court’s refusal to hear the case leaves the door open for the court to rule on another lawsuit that provides for the reinstitution of the same-sex marriage ban, although that “seems unlikely.”

U.S . Sen. Tammy Baldwin D-Wis., the first openly gay senator in U.S. history, championed the decision in a statement as “a huge victory for freedom and equality both in Wisconsin and in states across America.”

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“We can proudly say that marriage equality is the law of the land in Wisconsin,” Baldwin said in the statement.

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