Here’s what’s happening with the Supreme Court and gay marriage — it’s a big deal

As we speak, big things are happening in the fight for gay marriage in the United States.

You may remember that just last month, the Supreme Court agreed to hear four cases on same-sex marriage, which will be argued in April and likely decided this summer. The Supreme Court also refused to hear appeals from rulings allowing same-sex marriage in five states, which allowed the number of states with same-sex marriage on the books to expand rapidly. We’re talking a jump from 19 states to 37 in just four months.

This week, the gay marriage fight came to Alabama. A federal judge ruled that same-sex marriage should be legal in the state. But many probate judges in Alabama refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, sparking all kinds of legal conflict; essentially a war between the state chief justice, Roy Moore, and the federal judiciary.

On Monday, the Supreme Court refused to issue a stay on the federal order that allows same-sex marriage. That is: They wouldn’t put a hold on the order until all this was sorted out, which means that same-sex marriage will continue to legally go forward in Alabama.

Why is this a big deal? Because people are speculating that it’s a sign that the Supreme Court has already made a decision in favor of same-sex marriage. Usually, the Supreme Court will put a stay on any ruling that is currently under their consideration. But that’s not what they did here, with no stay ordered people are thinking that the Supreme Court already knows how they’re going to rule.

Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Antonin Scalia dissented from the decision not to issue a stay, which is also telling.

Justice Thomas gave a written response to the lack of stay issued, which people are seeing as further proof that the Court has already decided on gay marriage. Justice Thomas’ argument is that by not issuing a stay the Court is going against precedent. He writes, “This acquiescence may well be seen as a signal of the court’s intended resolution of that question.”

He’s right, that is how it’s being seen. And yep, that’s what we’re all hoping for! It might be too soon to celebrate, but things certainly look like they’re leaning in favor of national marriage equality.

Sparknotes: Same-sex marriage is still not legal on the national level, but the hope (and speculation!) is that it will be soon. We are crossing every finger.

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