Supreme Court should rule on gay marriage

Same-sex marriage laws are in limbo; the sooner the Supreme Court rules on them, the better.

by Connor Nikolic

Since August 2013, when Minnesota became the 12th state to legalize same-sex marriage, thousands of same-sex couples in this state have tied the knot. A total of 19 states, plus the District of Columbia, have now granted same-sex couples the freedom to marry. Furthermore, judges in 16 additional states have ruled in favor of same-sex couples’ freedom to marry, and more cases are going through the appellate courts.

Minnesota has already made up its mind on same-sex marriage. Even Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has said same sex-marriage is “not an issue” anymore. She has since retracted this statement. Nevertheless, a significant number of Republicans have moved away from debate on this issue, especially in states where same-sex marriage is already legal.

That said, different states have different rulings and legal definitions regarding same-sex relationships. The time is right for the United States Supreme Court to decide on the constitutionality of same-sex marriages. When the lower courts can’t decide on an issue’s constitutionality, it’s the role of the Supreme Court to decide for them. Both sides of the debate agree that the Court should not put off the issue any longer.

If the Court decides to accept one of several same-sex marriage cases filed for this session, it could hear the case as soon as January and issue a ruling this spring.

My view is the sooner the better. With the first private conference of the term held on Monday, the justices may have been waiting for the ideal case to come through to them. Any case involving same-sex marriage would be a fine candidate. Even though proponents of same-sex marriage won these cases at lower court levels, the defendants want the Supreme Court to make an official ruling on the issue, as well as on questions unique to each case.

Whatever your opinion on same-sex marriage may be, there is no argument to continue waiting. The petitioned cases, all from states with bans on same-sex marriage, have unique reasons for and against being selected to represent this issue. The Supreme Court could choose to hear any or all of these cases. Alternatively, it could choose not to address same-sex marriage this year.

I’m not going to speculate about how the Supreme Court justices would rule on this issue. What concerns me is that the Supreme Court may not address the issue for another year, as bans on same-sex marriage still stand in multiple states. Until the Supreme Court manages to make a final decision, a gay or lesbian couple happily married in Minnesota would be wise not to move to a state where such marriages are disputed.

I will be greatly disappointed if the Supreme Court is unwilling to hear this issue in the upcoming session. Same-sex marriage needs to be addressed as soon as possible, with a resolution coming from such a ruling.