At least one Supreme Court justice thinks that rulings over gay marriage are far from decided and could change — even after a decision earlier this year not to take up the constitutionality of the issue disappointed some same-sex marriage proponents who'd hoped for a definitive stance, Politico reported.
"The status quo there changes, you know, so there are plenty of opportunities," Justice Stephen Breyer told NPR's Nina Totenberg during a panel discussion Sunday at the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly.
His response came days after a federal appeals court from the Sixth Circuit in a 2-1 ruling allowed same-sex marriage bans to continue in four states — Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee and Kentucky, CNN reported.
The decision, written by Judge Jeffrey Sutton, a George W. Bush appointee, muddies the judicial waters on the issue as other federal circuits around the country have struck down similar voter-approved state bans.
"When the courts do not let the people resolve new social issues like this one, they perpetuate the idea that the heroes in these change events are judges and lawyers," Sutton wrote, according to CNN. "Better in this instance, we think, to allow change through the customary political processes, in which the people, gay and straight alike, become the heroes of their own stories by meeting each other not as adversaries in a court system but as fellow citizens seeking to resolve a new social issue in a fair-minded way."
Last month, the Supreme Court let stand rulings in five states, Utah, Oklahoma, Indiana, Virginia, and Wisconsin, that had approved gay marriage, The Washington Post reported.
By denying appeals on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, however, the court left open the door for the issue to return for their future review.
Noted the Post: "The denials of cases —
from three federal appeals courts carry no formal instruction for other lower courts still considering challenges to state bans; if one of them upholds such a measure, the issue could return to the high court."
While Breyer was candid Sunday in publicly expressing his views, his Supreme Court colleague, Elena Kagan, was not so forthcoming, Politico reported.
"You don’t really expect an answer on that, do you?" Kagan told Totenberg as the audience laughed.
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