What a week it has been for marriage equality! It’s still early in the week and the victories keep rolling in, with more expected soon.
We’ve been anxiously awaiting news about the 9th Circuit Court’s decision on whether or not the ban on marriage equality in Idaho and Nevada is unconstitutional. The news broke today, and we’re happy to announce that love wins! Unfortunately, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy issued a temporary stay blocking same-sex couples in Idaho from getting married the following morning, so we’re waiting to see how things will unfold moving forward.
Alaska and Montana are also under the jurisdiction of the 9th Circuit Court, but local courts have yet to strike down their marriage bans. The victory in the 9th Circuit sets the stage for those states to follow suit and expand marriage to all loving, committed couples.
Here’s a quick recap of where we’re at in the Northwest:
- Alaska—Lawsuit filed against marriage ban, first oral arguments begin on Friday, October 10th
- Idaho—Ninth Circuit Court ruled on Tuesday that the state’s marriage ban was unconstitutional—UPDATE: Implementation of the decision in Idaho was temporarily blocked on Wednesday by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the Supreme Court. Click here for more information.
- Montana—Lawsuit filed against marriage ban, awaiting ruling
- Oregon—Marriage equality
- Washington—Marriage equality
But that’s not all. Yesterday morning, the U.S. Supreme Court denied review of five marriage equality cases in the states of Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. This decision allows the lower court-rulings to stand, bringing the freedom to marry to five additional states!
In addition to the five states that were impacted by the Supreme Court decision, six other states are under the jurisdiction of the 4th and 10th Circuits (Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming), meaning that it is likely we will soon have marriage equality in 32 states throughout the country. This means that over 60% of the U.S. population will soon have the freedom to marry!
While there is still work to be done to ensure that all loving, committed couples are able to marry regardless of where they live, these announcements were a huge step forward for our community.
We expect this reality to have a positive impact in the remaining states that have marriage bans, yet we also recognize that for many LGBTQ couples in our region, including Alaska and Montana, marriage equality cannot come soon enough.
Each day that LGBTQ couples in those states face discrimination because of who they love is a day too many.
We will continue to work with you to ensure that all loving and committed LGBTQ couples have the freedom to marry. We’ll keep you posted as we make progress, but this week, we’re also going to take some time to celebrate and acknowledge these important victories. We hope to have more on the way soon!
Zachary Pullin is Pride Foundation’s communications manager. Email Zachary.