CHICAGO (CBS/AP) — On the first day of its new term, the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected appeals from Indiana, Wisconsin, and three other states that sought to prohibit same-sex marriage.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports the nation’s highest court has yet to rule on same-sex marriage nationwide, but the justices without comment turned away appeals from five states seeking to ban the practice.

The move effectively clears the way for same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses in Indiana, Wisconsin, Utah, Oklahoma, and Virginia.

Same-sex couples in six other states – Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming – should also be able to get married, as their states were bound by federal appeals court rulings that were put on hold, pending the Supreme Court’s decision on the five cases it declined to hear on Monday.

That decision means same-sex marriage is now legal in 30 states, and the District of Columbia.

Attorney John Knight, with the American Civil Liberties Union, said it’s not surprising the Supreme Court didn’t comment on its decision not to hear the cases from Indiana, Wisconsin, Utah, Oklahoma, and Virginia, but he said it’s somewhat surprising the court did not agree to hear the case, so it could issue a ruling on same-sex marriage nationwide.

“We expected them to take the case and resolve this for the entire country,” Knight said. “Instead what they’ve done is let this stand, and we assume at some point there’s a possibility they’ll take another case. But they sent a very strong signal, I think, that … the Constitution requires that states allow same-sex couples to marry.”

Knight brought the case in Wisconsin to overturn that state’s ban on same-sex marriage. The state of Wisconsin got an injunction to halt same-sex marriages a month after a federal judge struck down the state’s ban as unconstitutional.

“We do have people, as I said, in Wisconsin who already got married before the stay went into place. The same is true in Indiana. There will be some questions to work out about whether those marriages are effective right away. So there are a number of things to work out, but ultimately this is great and wonderful news.”

Knight said the latest developments would make a lot of people happy. He also noted opposition to same-sex marriages steadily has been fading in America.

“We know that in the many states where marriage is now occurring, after some initial resistance, that just went away; and, frankly, we really haven’t seen a great deal of resistance as marriage has come into play here in Illinois, and in other states where it’ happened more recently,” he said.
County clerks across Indiana have begun reviewing the Supreme Court decision, including Monroe County, where Chief Deputy Clerk Nicole Brown said she expects the office to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples soon.

County clerks and other public officials in Wisconsin also were reviewing the Supreme Court decision.

Hundreds of couples married in Wisconsin during a week in June before a federal judge’s decision overturning the state’s ban on gay marriage was put on hold.

Milwaukee County Deputy Clerk George Christenson said officials in his office were meeting with the county attorney to determine how to proceed now.

Two other federal appeals courts, in Cincinnati and San Francisco, could issue decisions any time in same-sex marriage cases. Judges in the Cincinnati-based 6th Circuit who are weighing pro-gay marriage rulings in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, appeared more likely to rule in favor of state bans than did the 9th Circuit judges in San Francisco, who are considering Idaho and Nevada restrictions on marriage.

It takes just four of the nine justices to vote to hear a case, but it takes a majority of at least five for an eventual ruling. Monday’s opaque order did not indicate how the justices voted on whether to hear the appeals.

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