Is it possible to be totally floored by something you completely expected? That is a question that can now be answered by April DeBoer, Jayne Rowse, and Dana Nessel, the two plaintiffs and lead attorney in the challenge to Michigan’s ban on same sex marriage. While many in the legal community, as well as April and Jayne, expected the Supreme Court to allow for the case to be heard, it is still a monumental moment in the fight for LGBT rights. The Supreme Court decided that it will not only hear Michigan’s case involving same-sex marriage, but it will also hear cases from Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. The two questions that will be presented to the Court are (paraphrased): 1) is it constitutionally permissible for a state to ban same-sex marriage?, and 2) can a state refuse to recognize a valid same-sex marriage from another state?
While it is important to remember that is just one more step towards equality for the LBGT community…it is a BIG step. Never before has the United State Supreme Court allowed for oral argument and been prepared to rule on the exact issue of same-sex marriage. Yes, there have been other cases that have certainly involved same-sex marriage (the Windsor and Prop 8 cases to name two recent decisions). However, those cases involved complex issues of legal standing to challenge certain laws and federal recognition of same-sex marriage, which is why the Court did not decide the ultimate question. Thankfully the Court will now have to make a ruling. Dana Nessel, the other attorneys on the case, as well as many prominent civil rights attorneys are hopeful, and cautiously optimistic, that the Court will come down on what history will ultimately prove to be the right side of this argument.
Here is a link to the press conference where Dana Nessel, April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse expressed their reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision to hear their care.