SCOTUS schedules oral arguments in marriage cases for April 28

Today, March 5, 2015, the United States Supreme Court scheduled the oral arguments in the marriage cases from four states for April 28. The cases are consolidated, and oral arguments are scheduled to last for two and a half hours.

On January 16, the United States Supreme Court announced that this year, they will hear arguments in a case on the question of whether same-sex couples should have the freedom to marry and if anti-marriage laws nationwide should be struck down as unconstitutional. The Court granted review of an out-of-step ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, which ruled in November against the freedom to marry in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. In each of these cases, federal judges had ruled in favor of the freedom to marry for all, and the 6th Circuit reversed each decision.

The arguments are in the cases Obergefell v. Hodges from Ohio, Tanco v. Haslam from Tennessee, DeBoer v. Snyder from Michigan, and Bourke v. Beshear from Kentucky. The states' response briefs are due March 17, and final reply briefs are due April 17. Click here to read more about the plaintiffs' briefs.

Earlier this year, in October, the Supreme Court denied review in five other marriage cases, which all had pro-marriage decisions from federal appellate courts. With the 6th Circuit’s out-of-step ruling causing a split in the circuits, the Supreme Court’s decision to grant review today could at last bring the country to national resolution.

Since June 2013, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the core of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, a momentous chorus of nearly 60 rulings in state and federal court have held that denying the freedom to marry to same-sex couples is unconstitutional. Read all about the rulings here. In just five decisions – the 6th Circuit ruling, federal decisions from Louisiana and Puerto Rico, and state court divorce cases from Tennessee and Florida – have anti-marriage laws been upheld.