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SCOTUS May Consider Same-Sex Marriage Cases

According to USA Today, “[the] Supreme Court has scheduled same-sex marriage cases from five states for consideration at its Sept. 29 private conference, indicating no hesitation to dive right into the national debate. The justices placed cases from Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana, and Wisconsin on the list for their first conference of the 2014 term.”

What Does this Mean for Same-Sex Marriage in Colorado?

The U.S. Supreme Court can choose whether to hear cases that come before it. The choice to hear a case is based on a variety of factors such as whether lower courts are deciding cases differently from one jurisdiction to the next, or if the matter is of national or social importance.

Because almost all of the lower federal courts have struck down same-sex marriage bans, the Supreme Court may decide not to hear the case. If the U.S. Supreme Court chooses not to hear the case, gay marriage will become the law of the land in Colorado. This is because both the United States District Court for the District of Colorado and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals (which governs Colorado) have ruled that Colorado’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional. If the U.S. Supreme Court refuses to take up the issue, then the lower court rulings will stand and marriage equality will become the law of the land in the State of Colorado. Marriage equality would not be nationwide, however.

On the other hand, because the marriage debate is of national and social importance and has tremendous momentum right now, the court may choose to decide the issue within the next few months. If this happens, whatever the U.S. Supreme Court decides will become the law in all 50 states. If they decide in favor of marriage equality, same-sex marriage will be legal across the country. If they decide against it, same-sex marriage will be decided by each state individually.

Another option is that they could choose to table the issue and take up the case at some point in the future.

Meanwhile, there is a marriage equality case pending before the Colorado Supreme Court. We are waiting to hear whether they will hear the case. The Colorado Supreme Court might wait to see what the United States Supreme Court does, or it might choose to take up the case and decide the issue for the State of Colorado.

On another note, the election of the next Colorado Attorney General could decide the issue for Colorado. The Democratic candidate, Don Quick, has indicated that he will not defend “Colorado’s unconstitutional ban on same-sex marriage.” On the other hand, the Republican candidate, Cynthia Coffman, said that the “role of attorneys general across the country is to defend state laws” indicating that she would defend the ban.

If you have any questions about same-sex marriage or your rights as a same-sex partner, please call one of our experienced family law lawyers at Modern Family Law. You can also request a consultation directly on our website.

Posted December 31, 2014
by: MFL Team

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