[JURIST] Fifteen states, led by Louisiana, urged [amicus brief, PDF] the US Supreme Court [official website] on Thursday to uphold same-sex marriage bans. The brief asserts that voters should decide for themselves whether to allow same-sex marriages in their respective states. Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Oklahoma, Utah and West Virginia joined the brief, even though courts have struck down same-sex marriage bans in these states. Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Texas, which have not legalized same-sex marriage, were the other states that took part in the brief. The Supreme Court agreed [JURIST report] in January to rule on same-sex marriage, and oral arguments are scheduled for April 28.
Same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] is currently legal in 37 states and the District of Columbia but continues to be a controversial issue. In March Puerto Rican officials announced [JURIST report] that Puerto Rico is ending its defense of a same-sex marriage ban. Last month a federal court stayed a ruling of the US District Court for the District of Nebraska [official website], which would have allowed [JURIST report] same-sex couples in Nebraska to marry. The Supreme Court of Texas [official website] granted an emergency stay [JURIST report] of two trial court decisions in Travis County in February, which held that an amendment to Texas’s constitution banning same-sex marriage violates the equal protection and due process [Cornell LLI backgrounders] clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. Michigan’s governor said in February that his state will not challenge [press release] a decision by the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan [official website] ordering the state to recognize more than 300 same-sex marriages. In January Miami-Dade became the first county in Florida to allow [JURIST report] same-sex marriage, hours ahead of statewide legalization.