The U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, Nov. 7, 2014. The court on Friday agreed to hear a new challenge to the Affordable Care Act, potentially imperiling...

Supreme Court sets stage for historic marriage ruling

A few months ago, many expected the U.S. Supreme Court to take up one of the pending marriage-equality cases, but the justices declined. Three appellate courts – the 4th, 7th, and 10th Circuits – had already cleared the way for same-sex marriages in much of the country, and soon after the high court took a pass, the 9th Circuit reached the same conclusion.
The Rachel Maddow Show, 1/16/15, 9:00 PM ET

Supreme Court agrees to rule on gay marriage

Nina Totenberg, NPR legal affairs correspondent, talks with Rachel Maddow about the implications and expectations of the Supreme Court’s announcement that it will take up the matter of marriage equality in a consolidated set of gay marriage cases.
But when the 6th Circuit went the other way, suddenly the pressure on the Supreme Court was far greater. Today, left with few options, the justices announced that marriage equality will have its day in court. Emma Margolin reported:
The day countless LGBT advocates have been waiting for is finally in sight – the Supreme Court is going to take up a marriage equality case this term.
The nation’s highest court on Friday granted all four pending requests, known as petitions for writ of certiorari, to hear challenges to same-sex marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. The case is likely to bring a landmark decision for the gay rights movement that establishes nationwide whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to wed.
In case it’s not obvious, let’s make this very plain: this is the case that could finally bring equal marriage rights to every state in the nation.

Tom Goldstein, a lawyer who’s argued several times before the Supreme Court, told NBC News, “It’s impossible to overstate the historic significance of a decision on such a fundamental piece of our social fabric.”

Oral arguments in the case will be heard in April – just three months away, and a month after arguments in the King v. Burwell case that will decide the future of the Affordable Care Act – with a decision expected at the end of the term in June.
Look for more on this on tonight’s show.

Civil Rights, Gay Rights, Marriage, Marriage Equality and Supreme Court

Supreme Court sets stage for historic marriage ruling