WASHINGTON (WWJ/AP) – What started as a petition by a lesbian couple from metro Detroit could end up changing the course of American history.
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments over same-sex marriage on April 28 and decide whether same-sex couples have a right to marry everywhere in America under the Constitution.READ MORE: Michigan Officials Coordinate Statewide Response To Baby Formula Shortage
The justices will take up gay-rights cases that ask them to overturn bans in four states and declare for the entire nation that people can marry the partners of their choice, regardless of gender.
The justices will consider two related questions. The first is whether the Constitution requires states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The other is whether states must recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.
A final decision is expected before July.
The gay marriage cases mark the only time this term that the court has agreed to the quick release of audio recordings. But the court is continuing its ban on providing video of its sessions or even live-streamed audio.
The arguments on gay marriage have been allotted two-and-a-half hours on the final Tuesday in April. Audio and the transcript of the proceedings should be available on the court’s website by 2 p.m. EDT, the court said Thursday in a statement.READ MORE: Man Falls 15 Feet From Crumbling Detroit Pedestrian Bridge
The gay marriage cases come from the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, so far the only federal appellate court that has upheld state bans on same-sex marriages since the justices’ 2013 ruling striking down part of the federal anti-gay marriage law.
Lawyers on both sides will get 90 minutes to argue whether gay and lesbian couples have a constitutional right to marry everywhere in the U.S. Another hour will be devoted to the question of whether states must recognize same-sex unions performed elsewhere.
The appeals before the court come from gay and lesbian plaintiffs in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. The federal appeals court that oversees those four states upheld their same-sex marriage bans in November, reversing pro-gay rights rulings of federal judges in all four states. It was the first, and so far only, appellate court to rule against same-sex marriage since the high court’s 2013 decision.
Hazel Park couple April Deboer and Jayne Rowse were behind the effort in Michigan. The couple took up the fight against the state’s voter-approved constitutional ban on gay marriage after they were unable to adopt each others children without being married.
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