WASHINGTON, D.C. (The Adobo Chronicles) – Everyone is so focused on the same-sex marriage case now before the U.S. Supreme Court that a recent high court decision on heterosexual marriage went practically unnoticed.
On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a decision by the 9th Circuit Court in San Francisco banning the marriage of two heterosexual couples.
The case stemmed from a lawsuit filed by a gay couple challenging the marriage between the heterosexual couples in Alpine County, California. The county has a population of 1, 1775 (as of the 2010 census), making it the least populous county in the state.
In the lawsuit, Smith & Smith vs. Alipine County, the gay couple sought to invalidate the marriage licenses of two heterosexual couples who were married at Markleeville City Hall. The gay couple, John and Paul Smith (no blood relation), argued that the county cannot grant marriage licenses to the heterosexual couples because it does not extend the same right to gay couples. “It violates the state constitution, particularly the provision for equal rights and protection,” the lawsuit argued.
The gay couple won the lawsuit but the decision was challenged by the county, elevating the case to the 9th Circuit Court, which subsequently upheld the original local court decision. The county then filed an appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court voted 5 to 4 in favor of the gay couple. Chief Justice John Roberts sided with Justices Kagan, Sotomayor, Ginsburg and Breyer to form the majority ruling. Roberts penned the decision.
While the LGBT community considers this a huge victory, it now means that all same-sex marriages will also be invalidated and banned until the Supreme Court issues a decision this summer on the pending case that would pave the way for federal recognition of same-sex marriage.
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments starting April 28, whether all 50 states must allow gay and lesbian couples to marry, positioning it to resolve one of the great civil rights questions in a generation.