The U.S. Supreme Court will review an appellate court’s decision to uphold same-sex marriage ban in four states, effectively agreeing to decide whether marriage equality must be extended to all 50 states.
The Supreme Court on Friday, Jan. 16, agreed to hear petitions on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals’ November 2014 ruling that upheld bans on same-sex marriage in Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky and Michigan.
These four states are among the 14 that bans same-sex marriage — Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas and Nebraska.
The court will hear the case in April. A decision is expected by late June.
The New York Times reported the court will hear two and a half hours of argument; the first 90 minutes will focus on the question of whether states are required by the Constitution to license a marriage between two people of the same sex.
According to the NY Times, “The last hour will concern a question that will be moot if the answer to the first one is yes: whether states must recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of state.”
Marriage equality and human rights advocates welcomed the Supreme Court’s announcement.
In a statement, Human Rights Council president Chad Griffin said, “Marriage has returned to the U.S. Supreme Court faster than virtually any other issue in American history, and there's a simple reason for that — committed and loving gay and lesbian couples, their children, and the fair-minded American people refuse to wait a single day longer.”
Thirty-six states now allow marriage equality, and more than 70 percent of Americans now live in places where gay couples can legally marry.