Victory for gays: same-sex marriage now legal in 24 states across the USA

Homosexuals across the United States experienced a great victory on October 6, as the Supreme Court lifted the ban on same-sex marriage in five states: Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. These five states join the ranks of 19 others. More will soon follow, as six other states fall under the same jurisdiction of the same appeals courts.

The Supreme Court’s reluctance to impede the momentum in favor of gay rights surprised both proponents and opponents of gay marriage. Both sides had been urging the court to step in and take action.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver lifted bans on same-sex marriage in Utah and Oklahoma, finding that all gay couples are “entitled to exercise the same fundamental right as is recognized for persons who wish to marry a person of the opposite sex.” Colorado, also falling under jurisdiction of the 10th Circuit, said it would expand marriage to same-sex couples as quickly as possible.

60% of Americans now live in states where gay marriage is legal.

According to Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, an American partnership dedicated to fighting for same-sex marriage rights in the U.S., 60% of Americans now live in states where gay marriage is legal. “It feels good to be recognized for things that everyone else takes for granted,” said Carolanne Fisher, a proud citizen who got her license at the county clerk’s office in Colorado as soon as the bans were lifted, on Tuesday.

Lawyers and proponents of gay marriage are incontrovertibly proud of this achievement. Howard Simon, the executive director of the ACLU of Florida, a state where the motion has just been filed, said, “Any further attempt to prevent historical and legal change is fruitless.” Another advocate, Camilla Taylor, a lawyer for the gay rights group Lambda Legal, commented, “It just became a lot harder for any court to uphold a marriage ban.”

Nearly 30 states in the US will allow gays to legally tie the knot in the near future, as soon as North Carolina, South Carolina, Kansas, West Virginia, and Wyoming follow in the footsteps of the five states that lifted the ban on Tuesday. According to CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin, “Now we are in a situation where 30 states have same-sex marriage. When you have that many people living in a world where same-sex marriage is legal, [it] makes it inevitable, it seems, that the rest of the country will follow.”

However, things may not be all that easy in the rest of the states involved in the fight. The majority of the 20 states that still plan to uphold the marriage ban are mostly located in the South and Midwest, traditionally America’s most religious and socially conservative states. Already, South Carolina’s attorney general has promised to continue to defend the state’s same-sex marriage ban, while Florida governor Rick Scott says that Attorney General Pam Bondi has a “duty to defend the ban” put in place by state voters in 2008.

There is also the unresolved issue of whether the Constitution allows states to continue bans on same-sex marriages. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says that since all courts have been uniform in ruling out same-sex marriage bans, there is no need to address the question right now. However, she said, “Sooner or later, yes, the question will come to the court.”

Sources: The Wall Street,,