The US Supreme Court announced in January that it would settle the battle over same-sex marriage this year. Oral arguments will take place in April, with a decision from the high court to follow by June. According to the Washington Post, the justices have asked the parties to address two key issues: “whether the Constitution requires states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and whether states must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states where they are legal.”
The Supreme Court was asked to weigh in once before, but declined to do so. What spurred the justices’ change of heart? This can likely be attributed to a Cincinnati appeals court upholding bans in Tennessee, Ohio, Michigan, and Kentucky. The court’s decision came as a surprise to many on both sides of the issue. To date, 36 states and the District of Columbia have legalized gay marriage—a leap from the 9 states that allowed the practice in 2012. After the high court made a series of rulings in favor of same-sex unions, legalization spread rapidly across the US.
Assuming the justices vote as predicted— four opposed and four in favor— the final decision will likely rest with Justice Anthony Kennedy. He already has a history of advancing gay rights from the bench, so it is likely he will vote in favor of same-sex marriage. Moreover, the current justices set a precedent of not protecting states’ rights to make and uphold laws when they allowed a California ban originally put in place by statewide voter referenda to be overturned by a lower court.
Events like this are, of course, no surprise to the sovereign Creator of the universe. Ultimately, God has our rulers’ hearts in His hand (Proverbs 21:1). We can be confident that no matter how the Supreme Court rules, our heavenly Father continues to rule and reign and will do as He pleases.