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Originally published Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 4:22 PM

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Editorial: No-ruling on gay marriage is a good sign for the future of equality

The U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to weigh in on marriage equality this term does not mean the issue will go away.


Seattle Times Editorial

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GRAB the rice and cue the wedding music.

Same-sex marriage is now effectively legal in 30 states — and counting.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal this week to consider several appeals of lower-court rulings upholding same-sex marriage will add 11 states to the 19 where gay and lesbian couples are allowed to wed. The District of Columbia also recognizes marriage equality. And Tuesday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down gay marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada. Given the Supreme Court’s earlier decision, the 9th Circuit Court’s ruling is likely to stand as well.

The fact that couples in the other states do not enjoy that same right is an issue the high court willhave to revisit. That inequity is untenable. A uniform ruling is necessary to end discrimination by states.

Take Monday’s decision to deny seven petitions as a sign the high court is not ready to weigh in. Still, no ruling this term is better than the risk of conservative justices knocking down recent gains on one of the major social issues of our time.

Other lawsuits are in the works. Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union predict the Supreme Court would rule if an appeals court upholds a state ban on same-sex marriage.

Here in Washington, voters passed Referendum 74 in 2012. In one state after the next since then, lawmakers and voters have chosen love over outdated notions of marriage as a union allowed only between one man and one woman.

Such progress did not happen overnight. In this state, years worth of incremental changes in law and politicking within the state Legislature proved crucial to changing policymakers’ minds.

A similar process is unfolding nationwide.

Just last year, the Supreme Court took the important step of invalidating laws that denied federal benefits to same-sex partners who are legally married.

Though not this week, some day soon, a majority of the justices will defer to reality and recognize that the simple right of an individual to marry the person he or she loves should be the law of the land.

Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Ryan Blethen, Jonathan Martin, Thanh Tan, Blanca Torres, Robert J. Vickers, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).



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