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On January 16, 2015, the Supreme Court stated that it will hear the challenge to the same sex marriage bans that were determined constitutional by the Sixth Circuit of Appeals.

Earlier this year, the Sixth Circuit in a 2-1 decision determined that bans to same sex marriage in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee were valid. The majority in that opinion stated that voters should determine whether gay marriage should be legal. This was in direct conflict with the other Circuit Courts that had made a ruling on same-sex marriage. In those other circuits, the appellate courts determined banning gay marriage was unconstitutional.

The court is expected to determine two main issues, both of which revolve around the 14th Amendment (the right of all citizens to equal protection). The first is whether banning same-sex marriage in a state violates the 14th Amendment. The second is whether a state refusing to recognize a same-sex marriage validly performed in another state or country violates the 14th Amendment.

The Supreme Court will consider the case during its current term, which means we should have an answer by the end of June 2015 as to whether everyone in the country has the freedom to marry. On January 5, Florida became the most recent state to recognize same-sex marriage. Currently, 36 states plus the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriages.

The Supreme Court’s order can be seen at: http://www.supremecourt.gov/orders/courtorders/011615zr_f2q3.pdf.

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