“No matter how it rules, the Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges will go down as one of the biggest cases in recent memory. There are actually two questions before the Court in the four cases, which hail from Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, and Michigan: whether the Constitution allows states to prohibit same-sex marriage; and whether states can refuse to recognize, or give effect to, the marriages of same-sex couples who were married in another state where same-sex marriage is legal.
Two years ago, Justice Kennedy joined the Court’s four more liberal Justices to strike down a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that defined marriage, for purposes of over a thousand federal laws and programs, as a union between a man and a woman only. So all eyes were on him at the oral arguments in April. He was hard to read, with tough questions for both sides, but supporters of same-sex marriage can take some comfort from the fact that he had virtually no questions during the section of the argument devoted to the question whether states have to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere – after all, that question only matters if the Court rules that there is no right to same-sex marriage. Will Kennedy join the more liberal Justices again and solidify his position as an ‘unlikely gay rights icon‘ by ruling in favor of same-sex marriage? We will know soon enough.”
The Court is expected to rule tomorrow or Monday.