[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] was asked Monday to review same-sex marriage cases from Kentucky and Michigan [cert. petitions, PDF] following a US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit [official website] ruling that upheld bans. Same-sex couples in both states states submitted petitions asking the high court to decide whether state same-sex marriage bans violate the Fourteenth Amendment [text] to the US Constitution. The Kentucky petition additionally raised the question of whether a state can refuse to recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states. According to the Kentucky petition, these constitutional issues were referenced in Hollingsworth v. Perry [JURIST report] but were not answered due to petitioners’ lack of standing.
The Sixth Circuit ruling [JURIST report] reversed lower court decisions from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee [JURIST reports] that had struck down same-sex marriage bans or ordered recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages [JURIST backgrounder]. The Sixth Circuit decision creates a circuit split with the US Courts of Appeals for the Fourth, Seventh, Ninth and Tenth Circuits [JURIST reports], and such a split among the circuits on a particular issue will typically encourage the Supreme Court to grant review. However, in October the Supreme Court declined to hear [JURIST report] seven pending same-sex marriage cases, allowing those appeals court rulings to stand and effectively legalizing same-sex marriage in several states.