Looking at the media on any given day, it’s clear that same-sex marriage is an ongoing conversation in every state.
On May 17, 2004, Massachusetts became the first to legalize same-sex marriage. The most recent state to allow same-sex marriage is Kansas according to Boston Globe.
The process of legalizing same-sex marriage is not as simple as approving or disapproving the ban; each state’s court can rule to approve same sex marriage, but this ruling can be appealed and brought before the state’s Supreme Court, a practice Arkansas has already adopted.
According to USA Today, same-sex marriage was briefly legal in Arkansas on May 9 as Circuit Judge Chris Piazza ruled the ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The Arkansas Supreme Court overruled his decision on May 16.
In the short period of time where it was legalized, 450 same-sex ceremonies were performed.
In certain cases, the U.S. Supreme Court is forced to become involved. Tennessee, Ohio, Michicgan and Kentucky hold such cases with all four states having a federal judge who ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in 2013-2014, but the courts are now overturning their rulings, according to an article from CNN.
“In a 2-1 ruling Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed lower court rulings in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee and Kentucky that struck down same-sex marriage bans,” said Joshua Berlinger for CNN.
The decision has already gained reactions. Judge Jeffrey Sutton wrote, “Better in this instance, we think, to allow change through the customary political processes, in which the people, gay and straight alike, become the heroes of their own stories by meeting each other not as adversaries in a court system but as fellow citizens seeking to resolve a new social issue in a fair-minded way.”
Senior Circuit Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey disagreed with Sutton.
“Instead of recognizing the plaintiffs as persons, suffering actual harm as a result of being denied the right to marry where they reside or the right to have their valid marriages recognized there, my colleagues view the plaintiffs as social activists who have somehow stumbled into federal court,” Daughtrey said.
As of Nov. 19, there are 33 states that are approving same-sex marriage and 17 who still hold their bans.