On November 6, 2014, in a 2-1 decision in DeBoer v. Snyder, the 6th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals broke with other federal courts of appeals and upheld bans on gay marriage. The 6th Circuit upheld bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. Prior to this ruling, the 4th, 7th, 9th, and 10th Circuits have all struck the bans in the states which they cover.
The 6th Circuit viewed the bans as the exercise of the will of the majority of people in the states with the bans it upheld. The other Circuits viewed the bans as unconstitutional infringement on the rights of the minority (same-sex couples) to due process and equal protection under the law.
While the plaintiffs-appellees could seek a rehearing before the entire 6th circuit, it seems likely they will now seek a writ of certiorari from the U.S. Supreme Court.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear appeals from Circuit decisions which struck bans in several states. However, now that there is a split in the Circuits, the likelihood of the U.S. Supreme court addressing the issue increases.
We will see how this case develops.
Stephen C. Hartnett, J.D., LL.M.
Associate Director of Education
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555