The Supreme Court declined Monday to hear seven petitions that challenged five states’ rulings defending the recognition of same-sex marriage.
SCOTUS Blog reported that the Supreme Court’s decision to not hear each case will clear the way for same-sex marriage in Indiana, Wisconsin, Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia and other states with similar bans within the fourth, seventh and tenth circuits.
President Marina Miller of Gamma Sigma Kappa, a gay rights advocacy group at Sam Houston State University, said the Supreme Court’s decision is a “step in the right direction.”
“I think it’s positive because we are getting somewhere with these states giving same-sex couples equal rights,” she said. “For the other 20 states, hopefully it’s monkey see, monkey do.”
Miller said as the amount of states allowing same-sex marriage grows, the attitude towards same-sex marriage will change as well.
“Hopefully the states that are against same-sex marriage will see nothing has changed, no one is having a heart attack, it’s making things better,” she said.
“Once a mandate is issued by the seventh circuit – which could happen later this week – county clerk’s offices will be required by federal court order to issue marriage licenses to otherwise eligible same-sex applicants, and same-sex marriages previously granted by other states will be legally recognized in Indiana,” Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said in a statement.
According to Reuters, the number of states allowing gay marriage would jump from 19 to 24 and “likely soon to be followed by six more states,” leaving 20 states that prohibit same-sex marriage.
The Supreme Court did not give an explanation for side-stepping the issue, however Reuters speculates it would be “premature [for SCOTUS] to intervene and wants to see more lower court action.”
In response to the Supreme Court’s decision to let the lower court rulings stand, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said “this is judicial activism at its worst.”
“The Supreme Court’s decision to let rulings by lower court judges stand that redefine marriage is both tragic and indefensible,” Cruz said in a statement. “By refusing to rule if the states can define marriage, the Supreme Court is abdicating its duty to uphold the Constitution. The fact that the Supreme Court Justices, without providing any explanation whatsoever, have permitted lower courts to strike down so many state marriage laws is astonishing.”
A federal judge repealed the Texas’ same-sex marriage ban in February, however the state appealed the decision to the fifth circuit. According to USA Today, Texas “indicated it would oppose speeding up the appeal.”