Lindsay Douglas /

By refusing to hear appeals from lower courts Monday, the Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage in five states, plus six more that hadn’t even filed suit.

Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin all wanted to keep their bans on same-sex marriage, but the high court turned a deaf ear, letting lower decisions striking the bans stand.

In addition to those five states, Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming will also have marriage equality, because they are covered by the same Circuit Court rulings that now stand. Suzanne Goldberg, who argued for gay rights before the court in Romer v. Evans, wrote, “By some estimates, an additional fifty-one million Americans will live in states that will soon have marriage equality, bringing the total number of states to thirty in all.”

She adds:

I continue to believe that the question is not whether the Court will recognize same-sex couples’ freedom to marry, but when. Today’s cert. denial leaves that question hanging longer than many anticipated, and brings no end to the suffering of same-sex couples who live in places where they are prevented from marrying or having their marriages recognized. But the cert. denial also means joy for those who live in the new “freedom to marry” states, and one more step forward for a nation that continues to work toward fulfilling its promise of equality for all.

The decision has another ripple effect, as explained by The Christian Science Monitor: “The denial does not establish same-sex marriage across the country, but it does send a green light of encouragement to lawyers for same-sex couples nationwide seeking to strike down similar state laws and constitutional amendments enforcing the traditional definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman.”

Thirty down, 20 to go.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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