The Future of Marriage Equality with a New Supreme Court Justice

I've been asked by several folks lately, including some concerned LGBTQ folks, about whether or not the right to marriage equality for all Americans will be stable under a new U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS). (In case you missed it, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement last week and our President will be likely to appoint an even more conservative Justice. Justice Kennedy, a moderate, wrote the majority opinions in the two cases that brought about marriage equality in the U.S.)

The short term answer to the question, "Is marriage equality stable?" is: "For the next few years, yes."


The long term answer is, "I sure hope so."

See, nationwide marriage equality cannot be overturned unless there's a new marriage equality-related case which SCOTUS hears, and then rules to overturn. That is not a quick process, and there are no current cases that relate. Any case heard before the Court would first need to make its way through the appeals process, which takes a few years. Then SCOTUS would need to choose to pick up the case or let a lower court ruling stand. If SCOTUS picked up the case, they would hear the arguments, and rule about 6 months later. In my non-legal-scholar-but-educated-observer-opinion, the earliest that marriage equality could be overturned would be fall 2020.

This NY Times article goes into further detail.

Can I answer any questions for you?






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