Gay Marriage in Front of the Supreme Court in the United States

It’s a subject that gets America all fired up while continuing to divide it. And thus, just like The New York Times, the press is widely reporting the headline: “Supreme Court Hears Same-Sex Marriage Arguments.” On Tuesday, the high court examined the constitutionality of gay marriage in order to decide whether same-sex couples can marry anywhere in the country.

Today, gay marriage is legal (or about to be legal) in 36 states (and the District of Columbia) out of 50 states. But the situation is different depending on the state. Traditionally, the U.S. Supreme Court protects states’ rights. To determine if gay marriage should be legalized in every state, the nine associate justices must first consider whether the 14th Amendment of the Constitution requires that a state recognize unions between same sex couples. Second, they must determine if the 14th Amendment requires one state to recognize same-sex marriages from other states. The debate currently involves 16 plaintiffs — supported by the Obama administration — who claim they should be able to marry in their home state. However Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan and Ohio still prohibit marriage between same-sex individuals, and define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

In June 2013, the Supreme Court repealed a provision of a federal law that provided this exact traditional definition of marriage. The decision, in fact, granted legally married gay couples federal rights to retirement funds and inheritance tax deductions. Although the recognition of marriage equality at the federal level seems inevitable, the controversy is not over. The verdict of the high court is due at the end of June.

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