A Milestone for Marriage Equality

Gay and lesbian couples across the country rushed to marry just hours after the Supreme Court decided against hearing appeals in gay marriage cases on Monday, helping to pave what may be the path to the right of same-sex marriage nationwide.

David Codell, the constitutional litigation director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said that Monday was “one of the greatest days in the history of LGBT rights in the United States.”

The decision by the nation’s highest court held intact rulings that had struck down gay marriage in Virginia, Oklahoma, Indiana, Wisconsin and Utah.

Now, 24 states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage, up from 19 before Monday. In the coming weeks, according to experts, six other states that are bound by a regional federal appeals court ruling that struck down same-sex marriage bans—West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming—are expected to join the ranks of states that allow same-sex marriage. That means 30 states would allow gays and lesbians to marry, which leaves 20 states where same-sex marriage is still prohibited.

In 2013, in another milestone decision by the Supreme Court, a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down, allowing the federal government to recognize gay and lesbian marriages.