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Supreme Court Will Review Gay Marriage Cases From Five States Including Utah

The U.S. Supreme Court announced this week that justices will review same sex marriage cases from five states including Utah at a private conference later this month.  It is the first step the court will take in deciding whether or not to consider any of the cases in its upcoming session.  

The Justices will meet on September 29 to begin planning for the upcoming session of the Supreme Court which begins in October.  Among the gay marriage cases they will consider is Kitchen v. Herbert. It seeks to strike down Utah’s law banning same sex marriage and was upheld by U.S. District Court Judge and three judge panel on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Carl Tobias is a constitutional law professor at the University of Richmond.  He says that the justices will have more to consider at their conference then the same sex marriage cases from five states.

“So they’re facing a couple thousand petitions for certeori. It doesn’t tell us very much except that those petitions are ready for consideration and that is an important step.  But it doesn’t mean that the justices will necessarily do anything with them at their first meeting as they’re sorting through these thousands of petitions,” Tobias.

Along with Utah, the justices will review cases from Virginia, Indiana, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.  But other marriage law challenges are waiting to be heard in the 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th and 11th federal circuits. Tobias says those cases could still play a role in the justices’ decision on whether to take up gay marriage in the upcoming term.

“The court may be waiting to see whether a circuit will reverse and uphold a ban. And it’s harder to tolerate different marriage systems,” says Tobias.

The court could decide to hear several cases or combine similar ones.  Tobias says it’s unlikely the justices will make decision immediately after the September conference.

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