A federal appeals court in Cincinnati upheld the right of states to ban same-sex marriage by a 2-to-1 vote on Thursday. The ruling overturns lower-court decisions in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee that found such restrictions unconstitutional.
Observers say the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruling will most likely force the Supreme Court to make a decision on same-sex marriage for the nation.
“This circuit split means that the Supreme Court’s ignoring of this issue will not be able to continue,” said Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. “The people of the states have the right to recognize marriage the way virtually every human culture has, as the union of a man and a woman. The Supreme Court should affirm this right, for all 50 states.”
Moore recently held a national conference for Evangelicals, “The Gospel, Homosexuality and the Future of Marriage,” designed to equip attendees to defend marriage in the culture and strengthen marriage in the church. He has also been invited by the Vatican to speak at a November colloquium in Rome, where he will provide an evangelical Protestant perspective on marriage and family — joining Pope Francis and religious leaders from all over the world.
Dale Carpenter, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Minnesota, was quoted in The New York Times as saying that the circuit split “will almost surely produce a decision from the Supreme Court, and sooner rather than later. It’s entirely possible that we could have oral arguments in coming months and a Supreme Court decision by next summer.”