2013 was a great year for marriage equality. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Windsor brought federal recognition of same-sex married couples. When Windsor was decided, it was unclear what effect it would have on the bigger fight, the fight to strike down all remaining same-sex marriage bans. Recent decisions in two of the most conservative states in the country indicate that federal judges are no longer swayed by the typical arguments in favor of retaining the bans.
Though it is hard to predict what will happen, the recent decisions in Utah and Oklahoma are the start of the next wave of cases that will ultimately end in a decision by that same Supreme Court. On Dec. 20, 2013 a federal judge in Utah ruled that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. Then on Jan. 14, 2014 an Oklahoma federal judge ruled that Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.
The Utah case was big because the Mormon Church is huge there. The same church was central in providing the funding for Proposition 8 in California. It also led to some immediate marriages because the District Court judge and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals both denied requests from the state to stay the decision.