The US Supreme Court on Monday unexpectedly declined to hear appeals from five US states who had sought to uphold bans on same-sex marriage. The court’s ruling, which was issued with no written explanation, effectively legalized same-sex marriage in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
The gif below, compiled with data from the Human Rights Campaign, shows same-sex marriage’s spread across the US, from Massachusetts in 2004 to the now 24 states, plus the District of Columbia, where it’s already allowed (or about to be allowed, in light of today’s court ruling).
There are cases pending for another six states—Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming. Those states—as covered by the jurisdictions of the appellate courts involved in the declined appeals—would be bound by the same rulings that the Supreme Court upheld on Monday, meaning that same-sex couples in those states will likely be allowed to marry in “short order,” the Associated Press reported.
The court did not rule on the whether banning same-sex marriage is inconsistent with the US Constitution, which applies to all 50 states. However, the move to not reverse these lower court decisions indicates that decisions to strike down same-sex marriage bans will be upheld.
The map below illustrates how the country will look if, as expected, the cases in these additional six states are upheld. That would make same-sex marriage legal in 30 of the 50 US states, plus the District of Columbia.