6th Circuit Split Decision May Bring Supreme Court Review

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Same-sex marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee were upheld as constitutional by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in a decision that creates a circuit split.

The court concluded that the matter is reserved for the “less expedient, but usually reliable, work of the state democratic processes,” rather than for federal courts.

The Sixth Circuit's decision makes it the first federal appeals court to uphold a state same-sex marriage ban since the Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor (2013).

The court also upheld Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee laws that prohibited recognition of same-sex marriages validly entered into in other jurisdictions.

Attorneys involved in the litigation said Supreme Court review is more likely because of the circuit split.

On Oct. 6, 2014, the court refused to hear seven cases that also put the constitutionality of state same-sex marriage bans before the justices, possibly because there was not yet a circuit split.

The opportunity to address the issue was also presented in Hollingsworth v. Perry (2013), but the court dismissed the case because of lack of standing.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kimberly Robinson in Washington at krobinson@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Baer at mbaer@bna.com