Gay Marriage Bans Being Challenged In All But Four States
The legal challenges to bans on same-sex marriages have gone nationwide:
Last week, there were five state same-sex marriage bans that had yet to be challenged. On Tuesday, that number fell to four. Next week, it’s expected to drop to three.
Georgia’s ban is the latest to be challenged. Seven people filed suit against the state on Tuesday, asking a federal judge to toss out Georgia’s 2004 constitutional amendment banning such unions. That group includes a widowed woman fighting to have the marriage to her deceased spouse recognized and three couples: a pair of Atlanta police officers, co-owners of a pet day care, and a lawyer and real estate agent.
The suit was filed by Lambda Legal, a pro-gay-marriage group, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia and argues that the ban violates equal protection rights under the 14th Amendment.
Before that challenge, there were 65 pending lawsuits involving marriage laws in 30 states, according to the group’s Thursday accounting of same-sex marriage ban challenges. The only other unchallenged bans were in Alaska, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.
South Dakota’s ban is expected to be challenged next week. That challenge will be brought by Nancy Robrahn and her partner Jen Rosenberg, who plan to wed in Minneapolis this week before immediately returning home to challenge their state’s ban by filing a name-change request. The pair hopes to challenge the ban by May 1 (next Thursday).
Several of the cases where challenges have been filed have already been decided at the District Court level and, so far, at least two of them have been argued before the relevant Circuit Court of Appeals. The next big argument will be May 13th when the challenge to the Virginia ban is heard before a panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. At this rate, it seems inevitable that we’ll have a Circuit Court decision, or maybe more, issued in well enough time for one party or the other to appeal to the Supreme Court. Assuming the Court accepts the case, we could be looking at a decision on state same-sex marriage bans being handed down by June 2015.