US: Supreme Court now likely to take up same-sex marriage case

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The Supreme Court is tipped to take up a same-sex marriage case soon, after a court broke with consensus to rule against equal marriage.

Yesterday’s ruling by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals against marriage equality is the first of its kind, conflicting with those from other courts, and creating what is known as a “circuit split”.

Previously, as all the appeals courts agreed on marriage equality, the Supreme Court had refused to take up a case – but the presence of a split between the circuits creates problems that the highest court is expected to resolve.

The court’s most liberal Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, hinted as much last month, saying: “When there’s no disagreement among the Courts of Appeals, we don’t step in.

“The major job that the court has is to keep the law of the United States more or less uniform.

“If there had been a Court of Appeals on the other side, we probably would have taken that case.”

The American Civil Liberties Union also expects the court to take up the case, saying: “We will be filing for Supreme Court review right away.”

If the Supreme Court does not weigh in on same-sex marriage, the remaining 17 states without marriage equality would have to rule one-by-one – while the top court has the power to introduce marriage all-at-once.