The Supreme Court today refused to hear cases brought by Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and Indiana to challenge federal appellate rulings on same-sex marriage.
The refusal to hear the cases was also expected to lead to West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming having to lift bans. Currently 19 states and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriage.
“Races don’t fall in love, genders don’t fall in love–people fall in love,” tweeted Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.). “Today’s Supreme Court decision is another step forward.”
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said they didn’t have “a specific reaction to their decision not to take — not to grant review in these cases.”
“The president himself has previously expressed his own personal view that it’s wrong to prevent same-sex couples who are in loving, committed relationships and want to marry from doing so,” Earnest said. “A growing majority of Americans already recognize that a marriage — that marriage equality embodies our American values of fairness under the law. It’s certainly the president’s view here, too.”
He acknowledged “there may ultimately be a role for the Supreme Court to play, and the justices on the Supreme Court will make that decision.”
“But in terms of what the president believes should be the law of the land, you know, we’ve been pretty clear about that, too.”
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) said she thought “it is virtually inevitable that at a later date the Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans.”
“However, the writing is on the wall considering the Court’s recent decision striking down a provision in the Defense of Marriage Act that denied federal benefits to same-sex marriages in states where it was legal and the expansion of same-sex marriage to 30 states after today’s ruling,” Norton added.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), though, called the Supreme Court punt “disappointing.”
“Nothing in the Constitution forbids a state from retaining the traditional definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman,” Lee said in a statement. “Whether to change that definition is a decision best left to the people of each state — not to unelected, politically unaccountable judges.”
“The Supreme Court owes it to the people of those states, whose democratic choices are being invalidated, to review the question soon and reaffirm that states do have that right.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called the Supreme Court’s inaction “tragic and indefensible.”
“By refusing to rule if the States can define marriage, the Supreme Court is abdicating its duty to uphold the Constitution. The fact that the Supreme Court Justices, without providing any explanation whatsoever, have permitted lower courts to strike down so many state marriage laws is astonishing,” Cruz added. “This is judicial activism at its worst.”