U.S. Supreme Court to hear gay marriage cases

The nation’s high court on Friday has agreed to take up marriage cases this spring and add another chapter in the fast-turning story of gay rights in the United States.

The court will hear arguments in April, according to the Associated Press, and could issue a decision by June. A ruling in favor of gay and against state gay-marriage bans would make gay marriage legal coast to coast.

The cases the court will hear center around couples from Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee and Kentucky, states whose bans on gay-marriage were upheld by an appellate court. Same-sex couples can now legally marry in 36 states, a bloc that is home to two-thirds of the American population. Freedom to Marry, a nonprofit that has been at the forefront of the legal fight for marriage equality, reports that nearly 60 federal and state courts have struck down marriage bans in the past two years, creating the kind of shifted legal terrain that bodes well for gay couples looking to the high court to rule in favor of their right to marry.

“[A]fter a long journey and much debate, America is ready for the freedom to marry. But couples are still discriminated against in 14 states, and the patchwork of discrimination harms families and businesses throughout the country,”said Freedom to Marry President Evan Wolfson.

Colorado’s gay-marriage ban was effectively struck down in October, when the Supreme Court decided not to review U.S. Appeals Court rulings that found gay-marriage bans unconstitutional in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. The effect was to make gay-marriage legal across three federal jurisdictions covered by the rulings. In total, it meant gay-marriage bans fell in 11 states, including in Colorado.