Same-sex couples in Oklahoma gain right to wed

Callie Struby, Reporter

October 6 marked an historic day for Oklahoma, four other states and the nation as a whole. The Supreme Court Monday decided not to hear appeals from five states seeking to challenge a lower court decision to allow same-sex marriage. Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Wisconsin and Virginia now recognize same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court’s decision added an additional 51,579,771 people to the number of people living in states with recognition for same-sex couples.

In addition the decline to hear the appeals hints that six other states under the lower court’s jurisdiction may soon gain marriage equality as well. These states (Colorado, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming) are expected to add to the number of states allowing same-sex marriage soon, bringing the total to 30 states (and the District of Colombia).

The most significant part of this development is that the just about sixty percent of the US population now lives in a state where marriage equality will soon be legal. This would officially put the number of states allowing same-sex marriage past the “tipping point”. In other words, the progress has come so far that eventually all states will allow same-sex marriage.

On Wednesday however, Justice Anthony Kennedy made a confusing mistake that left many hopeful Nevada couples unable to obtain marriage licenses. Kennedy gave an order Wednesday morning that halted a Ninth circuit marriage ruling that would allow same-sex marriage in both Idaho and Nevada. The order was in reaction to a last-minute request from lawyers for the state of Idaho but despite the request being from just one state, citizens of both Idaho and Nevada were impacted.

On Thursday, spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said that Kennedy’s order was in fact a mistake and that the order had been connected with a follow-up order shortly after. However Nevada officials continued to hold off on issuing marriage licenses until the legal situation was resolved.

What does all of this tell us? It tells us that because this is such a complex legal issue and because it is moving so fast it is likely that complications will arise as things continue to unfold. But for now the focus should be on the fact that Idaho, Indiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Utah, Wisconsin and Virginia now have marriage equality.