Some of you may remember Anthony Michael Kreis from his participation here in last year’s RFRA debate. The former political co-chair of the Atlanta Human Rights Campaign, he’s a native Virginian and a Ph.D. candidate at UGA, where he teaches some of this state’s most brilliant and good-looking undergraduates. Here’s his analysis of the implications of this morning’s decision, or lack thereof:
The Supreme Court’s cert denials are nothing short of a major victory for same-sex couples. In the most immediate sense, by refusing to hear appeals from Utah, Oklahoma, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Virginia, the Supreme Court made marriage equality the law of the land in each. In the immediate future, 6 additional states’ bans will also fall: Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming. In a matter of days– if not hours– 60% of Americans will live in same-sex marriage jurisdictions.
While the Supreme Court’s decision not to take up the cases has no immediate impact on Georgia, the message could not be more clear. There is virtually no probability that the state can successfully defend the Georgia Constitution’s same-sex marriage ban. It is unfathomable to think the Supreme Court would reverse course given the wide-scale impact of today’s denials. The Supreme Court’s signal should be heeded by Attorney General Olens. Any additional time the Attorney General’s office spends defending the constitutionality of Georgia’s marriage ban is futile. It is waste of taxpayer money. But, worse yet, any delay perpetrates the unconstitutional deprivation of equal rights and dignity Georgia owes to same-sex couples.
Tl;DR: Same-sex marriage will very shortly exist in a majority of states and a majority of constituencies. Some combination of six judges decided against hearing “the big one” in the coming months, meaning there was some combination of liberal and conservative justices (or liberal and slow-moving justices, probably Kennedy and Roberts.) And, for what has to be the first time in anyone’s memory, the bright future of civil rights lies on the east side of the Savannah River.