[JURIST] Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine [official website] and State Solicitor Eric Murphy on Friday issued a asked [response, PDF] the US Supreme Court to uphold the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit [official websites] decision declaring Ohio’s same-sex marriage ban constitutional. The officials cited the judge’s opinion that the matter should be left to democratic means and supported the Sixth Circuit court’s reasoning that the issue:
[C]om[es] down to the same question: Who decides? Is this a matter that the National Constitution commits to resolution by the federal courts or leaves to the less expedient, but usually reliable, work of the state democratic processes?
The filing was in response to the petition for certiorari [JURIST report] filed by the American Civil Liberties Union [advocacy website] on behalf of same-sex couples in Ohio. The Ohio government officials agree that the Supreme Court should hear the case in order to resolve the circuit split on the issue of same-sex marriage.
The legal landscape regarding issues surrounding the legality of same-sex marriage and adoption by same-sex couples [JURIST backgrounders] has been rapidly changing in the US. In November the Sixth Circuit became the first federal court of appeals to uphold same-sex marriage bans [JURIST report], overturning lower court rulings in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. The ruling created a circuit split, as the US Courts of Appeals for the Fourth, Seventh, Ninth and Tenth Circuits [JURIST reports] have ruled same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional. In October the US 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. The current circuit split increases the likelihood that the Supreme Court will issue a national ruling in regards to same-sex marriage.