Gay marriage advocates target U.S. Supreme Court after loss

Fri Nov 7, 2014 6:10pm EST
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By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Gay marriage supporters in four states where bans on same-sex nuptials were upheld by a federal appeals court said on Friday they will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the issue, and officials in two of the states vowed to do the same.

Both sides being in agreement that the high court should intervene increases the chances that the nine justices may hear oral arguments in the spring and decide the case by the end of June.

Same-sex marriage advocates in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee said they would quickly appeal to the Supreme Court, possibly within the next two weeks.

Officials in Michigan and Kentucky, who defended their states' gay marriage bans, said they would urge the high court to resolve the constitutionality of the prohibitions. Officials in Ohio and Tennessee said they were still considering their options.

The Supreme Court must receive submissions from both sides by the end of December in order to consider in early January whether to take up one or more of the six consolidated cases from the four states that the appeals court considered.

It is relatively unusual for both sides in a case to ask the high court to intervene.

The Supreme Court last month declined to take up the issue of whether state bans on gay marriage violate the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law.

But the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday upheld the same-sex marriage bans in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee in a ruling that put pressure on the high court to issue a definitive nationwide ruling on the matter. [ID:nL1N0SW376]   Continued...

Terrence Hall (L) and Christopher DeCaria (R) display their marriage license to the media outside of the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds office in Charlotte, North Carolina, October 13, 2014.  REUTERS/Davis Turner