The Supreme Court will not consider challenges to federal appeals court rulings upholding marriage equality.
Justices did not explain why they are unwilling to review the three decisions, which affirmed that same-sex couples have the same marriage rights as straight couples.
The rulings were in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina; the Seventh Circuit, which covers Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin; and the Tenth Circuit of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming.
Gay marriages probably will be permitted in all those states, though further court action may be necessary in some cases to force authorities to accept equality, according to Think Progress.
The decision to not review the cases means that gay marriage could soon be legal in 30 states and the District of Columbia.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin are reacting to the news by lining up to get married, the Huffington Post reported. County clerks in the states already have begun issuing marriage licenses to the couples.
Other same-sex marriage cases are pending in appeals' court circuits with more conservative justices, Think Progress noted. Gay-rights activists hope the judges find it difficult to deny marriage equality in light of the Supreme Court's actions.
The flurry of marriage equality victories doesn't seem likely to end anytime soon, as Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming are in the same judicial circuits and must abide by the appellate rulings that were put on hold pending the Supreme Court's review. When all is said and done in those states (which could happen in short order, according to the Associated Press), same-sex marriage will be legal in 30 states and the District of Columbia.
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