U.S. Supreme Court to decide Michigan gay marriage case

Jan 16, 2015 at 4:28 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court said on Friday it would hear a case that challenges Michigan's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, a decision that could decide the issue of marriage equality across the nation once and for all. 

The court agreed to hear Michigan's case, brought by two Hazel park nurses, as well as challenges to similar bans in Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee — all of which were upheld by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals this past November

In an order issued Friday, the court said it would answer two specific questions in the cases: Does the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment allow states to ban same-sex marriages? And, can states refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in another state? 

The decision was hailed by same-sex marriage proponents, who also scored a victory this week in Michigan, when a federal judge ruled the state government must recognize over 300 gay marriages performed during the short window when Michigan's ban was overturned. Last March, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman overturned Michigan's ban, but, less than 24 hours later, his decision was stayed by the appellate court.

The high court will likely hear arguments in the case sometime in April, with a ruling probably expected in late June, according to SCOTUSblog.com, which tracks the Supreme Court. Currently, thirty-six states recognize same-sex marriage.