[JURIST] Thirty-two states asked the US Supreme Court [official website] on Thursday to issue a definitive ruling on same-sex marriage. Fifteen states that allow gay marriage, led by Massachusetts, filed a brief asking the court to take up three cases from Virginia, Utah and Oklahoma and overturn the bans. Seventeen states that have banned the practice, led by Colorado, did not urge the court to rule in anyway, but asked to clear up a “morass” of lawsuits [AP report]. The filing came after a unanimous decision [JURIST report] on Thursday from the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit [official website] ruled that same-sex marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana are unconstitutional. Massachusetts is joined by California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Washington. In its brief, Colorado argued that the legality of gay-marriage bans is an issue only the Supreme Court can resolve. Colorado is joined by Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Since the Supreme Court struck down [JURIST report] section three of the Defense of Marriage Act [text] last year, numerous state and federal courts have declared state same-sex marriage bans [JURIST backgrounder] unconstitutional. Earlier this month the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana became the first federal court to uphold a state same-sex marriage ban [JURIST report] since the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor. In August the Florida Second District Court of Appeal issued an opinion calling for a ruling on the constitutionality of the state’s same-sex marriage ban [JURIST report] by the Florida Supreme Court. The same day the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dismissed a challenge [JURIST report] by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) [advocacy website] to reinstate Oregon’s same-sex marriage ban, which was ruled unconstitutional [JURIST report] by a federal district court in May. Currently 19 US states and DC allow same-sex marriage, and more than 70 lawsuits relating to same-sex marriage [Freedom to Marry factsheets] are pending in 32 states.