Wisconsin and Indiana urge Supreme Court to hear marriage cases

Today, September 9, less than one week after the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit unanimously affirmed lower court rulings striking down marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin, defendants in both cases filed their petitions for certiorari with the United States Supreme Court. The cases, Baskin v. Bogan in Indiana and Wolf v. Walker in Wisconsin, were considered by the 7th Circuit late last month. 

The petitions join five others from three different marriage cases - Kitchen v. Herbert in Utah, Bishop v. Smith in Oklahoma, and Bostic v. Schaeffer in Virginia. Freedom to Marry is cataloging all of the briefs to the Supreme Court here. 

Shortly after the filings, plaintiffs in the Indiana case - same-sex couples and their legal teams - filed a reply brief agreeing that it's time for the Supreme Court to hear their case. 

Today, Hoosiers Unite for Marriage reacted to the petition in Indiana:

We held out the slimmest hope that Attorney General Zoeller and Governor Pence would stop their endless defense of an unconstitutional law that harms loving, committed same-sex couples and their families. Two courts have now struck down this law, and it’s clear that Hoosiers support protecting these couples and recognizing their marriages.

That’s why the plaintiffs in this case also filed a brief today asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the issue of marriage equality in its upcoming term. The fight for the freedom to marry isn’t over yet, and we’re more committed than ever to making sure that Indiana families have the protections they deserve.

The U.S. Supreme Court's first chance to decide whether it will take a marriage case is on September 29. After that, the next conference is scheduled for October 10. The Wisconsin and Indiana petitions for certiorari will likely not be ready for distribution (and thus, consideration at a conference) until the October 10 conference. The Court is not required to immediately act on these petitions, although in order for a ruling to be issued by summer 2015, certiorari should be granted by January 2015. If the Court decides to hear one or more marriage cases, oral arguments will likely be heard in the spring, with a ruling expected by June 2015.

Since last June, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the core of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, 39 rulings have come down in favor of the freedom to marry in state, federal, and federal appellate courts, with two rulings going the other way. Marriage litigation is pending in every state without the freedom to marry, and pro-marriage decisions are pending before federal appellate courts in the 5th, 6th, 9th, and 11th Circuits. The 4th Circuit, 7th Circuit, and 10th Circuit have already affirmed that anti-marriage laws are unconstitutional.

Freedom to Marry's Litigation Resource tracks nearly 80 marriage cases in the courts.