Gay marriage and federal courts

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Even as advocates for marriage equality predict victory at the U. Supreme Court this spring, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is instructing state judges to defy a federal court's order to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples, sparking what one law professor calls a " constitutional crisis. Moore, who gained notoriety after being kicked off the bench in for defying a federal court order to remove a 2. Local media reported that, even before the order, at least five Alabama judges planned to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples when the federal court order went into effect this week. These officials are essentially arguing that the Constitution does not apply in their state. In addition, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee recently advised state officials to ignore any ruling in favor of same-sex couples.

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The history of same-sex marriage in the United States dates from the early s, when the first lawsuits seeking legal recognition of same-sex relationships brought the question of civil marriage rights and benefits for same-sex couples to public attention though they proved unsuccessful. Miike that suggested the possibility that the state's prohibition might be unconstitutional. That decision was met by actions at both the federal and state level to restrict marriage to male-female couples, notably the enactment at the federal level of the Defense of Marriage Act. The first legal same-sex marriage ceremony in the United States happened on February 12, , when mayor of San Francisco Gavin Newsom ordered city hall to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This decision resulted in the celebration of the first gay marriage in the United States, when Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon became the first gay couple to tie the knot and get official recognition of their fifty year relationship Marriage Equality New York.

Gay Marriage

Now, both of those cases are headed to the Denver-based U. The court has five judges appointed by Democratic presidents and five by Republican ones. A central figure on the court personifies that ideological split: Judge Scott Matheson Jr.
The U. Supreme Court today rejected requests to review lower court decisions that overturned bans on same-sex marriage in five states: Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. By denying these requests, the court effectively legalized gay marriage in these states.

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