The U.S. Supreme Court announced today the nine justices are about to issue their ruling on marriage equality, specifically, the question of whether the Constitution requires states to allow same-sex marriages.
They also are expected to reveal what they decided about whether states can prohibit same-sex marriages, but still be required to recognize legal same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.
This question only matters if the states win on the marriage question; if the court were to rule that each state is constitutionally required to allow same-sex marriages by its own citizens, it becomes a no-issue.
Following the hearings in late April, some court watchers suggested that Chief Justice John Roberts's questions during the second part of the oral argument could be part of an effort to broker a compromise. This deal, goes the theory, has the Supreme Court ruling there is no constitutional right to same-sex marriage but that the Constitution requires states to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions.
Experts say, however, it's important to note the fact Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is probably the best bet to join the court's more liberal Justices to strike down the bans, was quiet during the arguments on the recognition question.
Court watchers have suggested that his silence could mean he had already decided to rule for the plaintiffs on the first question, eliminating any need to worry about the second one as his would be the deciding vote between the liberal and conservative justices, should they vote according to their political leanings.
Even though the ruling will be announced today, the justices actually voted sometime before May 1, and their decision has been known only to them and their clerks.
Bookmark this page! The Advocate will bring you up-to-the-minute details on the ruling, and reaction, as soon as it is announced.