The U.S. Supreme Court took a pass on preventing a lower court judge from allowing gay marriage in Alabama, a move that court watchers feel is an indication that the court will approve gay marriage nationwide later this year.
The Supreme Court is set to hear four same-sex marriage cases sometime in April, with a decision likely in June, but before the court this month was a request to put a halt to Alabama’s reversal of state law to allow gay marriage right away. Ultimately, SCOTUS decided not to do so.
Thanks to the top court’s decision, Alabama will become the 37th state to allow gay marriage.
The SCOTUS decision not to delay the actions in Alabama brought a sharp dissent from Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, both of whom criticized the court for not keeping Alabama’s proscription in place while the court is set to hear other cases on the same issue.
It has been a court tradition to freeze existing laws in place if SCOTUS is soon to take up the issue. But in this case, the court has allowed a state to jump ahead of the top court of the land.
Calling the move “indecorous” and “cavalier,” Thomas’s dissent was a sharp rebuke of his colleagues.
“The court looks the other way as yet another federal district judge casts aside state laws without making any effort to preserve the status quo pending the court’s resolution of a constitutional question it left open,” Thomas said.
“I would have shown the people of Alabama the respect they deserve and preserved the status quo while the court resolves this important constitutional question,” Thomas said.
Even to Thomas, this acquiesce seems to point to a court that will allow gay marriage later this year. After all, if most of the Justices see no reason to put a halt to Alabama’s move now, it may seem logical to assume they are just going to OK it in a few months anyway.
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