In a matter of weeks, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral arguments in a series of consolidated cases addressing the constitutionality of the current bans on same-sex marriages in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.
What this means is that the nine justices will soon be deliberating on the incredibly important issue of whether gay and lesbian couples have a constitutional right to get married in all 50 states.
In a case of this magnitude, it’s perhaps not unexpected that multiple amicus briefs would be filed by interested parties, including representatives from the more than 30 states that legally permit same-sex marriage.
In fact, the state of Massachusetts has filed an amicus brief in support of same-sex marriage that was signed by 16 states, including Maryland. What’s interesting about this is that the brief contains some findings from a recent report authored by Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh.
In his fascinating report, entitled “The State of Marriage Equality in America,” Frosh argues that the aforementioned bans on same-sex marriage are unlikely to “withstand constitutional scrutiny” under the Equal Protection Clause given that the primary motive underlying their creation was prejudice.
Even more fascinating, however, he cites the experience of Maryland as a reason for why the courts need to become involved on this important issue.
Specifically, he discusses how even though same-sex marriage was approved by Maryland voters in 2012, the road to marriage equality was far from smooth. Indeed, he points out that the state was the first to define marriage as taking place between a man and a woman, and even expressly prohibited same-sex marriages in 1973.
“Although the enactment of marriage equality legislation in Maryland has been a source of pride and a resounding success, the democratic process in Maryland still took nearly 40 years, and in other states the pace of democratic change has been similarly halting and erratic,” he wrote.
It is worth noting that he also indicated that Maryland has a vested interest in how SCOTUS decides this case, as those married same-sex couples in our state may find themselves unable to divorce or enjoy other important rights if they need or want to move to a state with such a ban in place.
Stay tuned for updates on this incredibly important case …