Supreme Court Takes On Gay Marriage Case


On April 28, oral arguments were presented to the United States Supreme Court for the case of Obergefell v. Hodges. Much like the 2013 case of Windsor v. United States that was also brought to the Supreme Court, this case deals with gay rights, more specifically, the right to marry someone of the same-sex. Either way the court rules, this case is expected to be historic.

Currently, 36 states have legalized gay marriage and cases like Obergefell v. Hodges challenge the other 14 state’s opposition to gay marriage rights. The first version of this lawsuit was started on July 19, 2013 and originally titled Obergefell v. Kasich when a same-sex couple filed it in the U.S. Southern District of Ohio. John Arthur was terminally ill with ALS and the couple had filed this lawsuit in order for his partner, James Obergefell, to be listed as his surviving spouse on his death certificate due to their marriage in Maryland, which recognizes same-sex marriages, in 2013.

After fighting their case for years, the couple brought their lawsuit to the Supreme Court on November 14. It was brought to the Supreme Court because the couple was unhappy with Ohio’s decision to not recognize their marriage, saying that it violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection and asked the Supreme Court if the state’s refusal to recognize Maryland’s jurisdiction was violating the Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit clause.

On January 15, 2015 the Supreme Court agreed to review the case and three others that dealt with gay rights from Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee. The Supreme Court’s decision could give the LGBTQ community one giant step closer to marriage equality for all. Many anti-gay activists predict that this case could make an impact lasting forever, but at the same time, people are unsure if it will be in favor of same sex marriage.

Many predictions on the success or failure of the case are mixed due to the examination of previous cases. In the case of Windsor v. United States, the Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. federal interpretation of marriage only applying to heterosexual unions is unconstitutional. On the same day, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in California in the case of Hollingsworth v. Perry. Both cases were close in votes and both are seen as landmark cases in the gay marriage rights movement. People are hopeful Obergefell v. Hodges will follow these landmark cases in the winning streak of gay marriage legislation. The Supreme Court’s decision is expected in late June.