Meet the Justices: Nine People Who Will Decide the Future of Marriage in America
Much has changed since 1972, when the Supreme Court dismissed Baker v. Nelson--a suit brought against the state of Minnesota for denying a marriage license to a same-sex couple--on the grounds that the case lacked "a substantial federal question." What was once a trickle, beginning with Massachusetts in 2004, became a veritable deluge over the past few years as federal courts struck down same-sex marriage ban after same-sex marriage ban. The Supreme Court has now become an agent for equality, ruling in favor of marriage equality in two landmark cases in 2013 (United States v. Windsor, which challenged the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and Hollingsworth v. Perry, which overturned Prop 8) and refusing to review pro-equality rulings among the Circuit Courts of Appeals in 2014.
When the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, however, upheld bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee, breaking rank with the other appelate courts, the conflicting rulings among courts of the same level compelled the Supreme Court to step in. Obergefell v. Hodges combined the appeals from those four states against the Sixth Circuit ruling, and is expected to establish once and for all whether or not same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry in the United States.
While there is no way of knowing how the court will decide ahead of their official verdict, which could be announced at any time now, there are certain indications as to how some of the nine Justices are leaning.
Photo via WikiCommons/Steve Petteway