Arguments in appeals in five gay marriage cases in four states, including Michigan, will be heard in a single session on Aug. 6, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said.
Al Gerhardstein, a Cincinnati civil rights attorney who represents plaintiffs in two Ohio cases, told The Akron Legal News the Cincinnati-based appeals court’s approach is “significant”.
The cases – one each in Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee, and two in Ohio – are different, but each deals with the constitutionality of statewide bans on same-sex marriage.
"They see the need to do some basic rulings on core principles cutting across all these state lines,” Gerhardstein said. “It's very exciting."
The Michigan case is an appeal of U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman’s ruling striking down a 10-year voter-backed ban on same-sex marriage as a violation of the due-process clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette asked for and received an emergency stay less than 24 hours after Friedeman handed down his ruling, and that stay was extended until the 6th Circuit could hear the case.
The Akron Legal News said it’s unclear whether the the panel of three judges hearing the cases will issue one ruling encompassing all or five separate rulingsSame-sex marriage cases have been appealed in other areas – the 4th Circuit in Virginia heard a case in May and the 10th Circuit is expected to rule soon on two cases heard in April – but the 6th Circuit is the first federal appeals court to consider so many cases at one time.