Despite yesterday's announcement from the Supreme Court and rulings at the appellate court level, Republican governors are refusing to follow the law on same-sex marriage.
When the Supreme Court declined to review any of seven same-sex marriage case from five states, rulings by the appellate courts became the final ruling and all stays the Supreme Court and the appellate courts had place on those rulings were lifted.
The immediate effect was that same-sex couples in Virginia, Utah, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma were allowed to marry, and they did.
But the next effect is that all states in the same judicial circuit, or region, as those cases were in, must follow the ruling of that Circuit Court.
Virginia, for example, is part of the 4th Circuit. West Virginia, South Carolina, and North Carolina make up the rest of that Circuit, so same-sex marriage should be, theoretically, legal in those states as well.
Utah is part of the 10th Circuit, so same-sex marriage should be, theoretically, legal in Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Kansas as well.
So, same-sex marriage should now be legal in 30 states -- the previous 19 plus the five from yesterday's announcement and the additional six states that are part of those Circuits. Technically, states can wait for federal judges or their state supreme courts to specifically declare their marriage bans unconstitutional, but since the judges have no choice but to make that declaration, any wait is both manipulative and political -- not to mention cruel and punitive. Governors or attorneys general could easily decide to make marriage available to same-sex couples now, without delay, as Colorado's Republican Attorney General did today based on an earlier court ruling, or they could petition their state supreme court to overturn the ban immediately, or the rule immediately on an existing case.
In other words, they could take action to pave the way for marriage, rather than promising to block it.
As The New Civil Rights Movement reported yesterday, state and local officials are applying the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage announcement differently.
And unfortunately, governors and attorneys general in some of the six states are outright refusing to follow what is now, whether they like it or not and whether they agree or not, the law.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, a supposed devout Roman Catholic who has turned Kansas into an unmitigated disaster and is in a very rough re-election campaign, yesterday announced he would not follow the law.
"I swore an oath to support the Constitution of the State of Kansas," Brownback in a statement "An overwhelming majority of Kansas voters amended the Constitution to include a definition of marriage as one man and one woman. Activist judges should not overrule the people of Kansas."
It's unclear when the most conservative Supreme Court in recent history became "activists" on same-sex marriage (although on other issues, yes.)
Couples in Kansas have been denied their now legal right to marry.
In South Carolina, Republican Attorney General Alan Wilson is also refusing to follow the law. The AP reports Wilson "pointed out that a judge has not ruled on a lawsuit by a gay couple legally married in Washington, D.C., seeking to overturn the South Carolina gay marriage ban."
The State reports Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina, along with AG Wilson, "said Monday they would keeping on fighting in federal court a lawsuit filed in 2013 by a South Carolina same-sex couple."
“Governor Haley," a spokesperson said, "agrees with Attorney General Wilson – our voter-approved state law should be followed until a court rules on it directly.”
In other words, stalling until the inevitable arrives.
In Wyoming, Republican Gov. Matt Mead, who, ironically is an attorney, said that the "decision by the U.S. Supreme Court has no impact on the case before the Wyoming District Court.”
"The attorney general will continue to defend Wyoming's Constitution defining marriage between a man and a woman," Mead added.
Same-sex couples will have to wait there, too.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, as The New Civil Rights Movement reported last night, made clear she is vehemently opposed to allowing same-sex marriage. The divorced GOP governor actually railed against "unelected federal justices" and their "D.C. values."
How long can these anti-gay Republicans stall?
Not much longer.
Editor's note: This post has been updated for clarity.
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