The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
announced today that it had canceled hearings scheduled May 12 on appeals from four states, including Arkansas,
of lower court decisions invalidating bans on same-sex marriage.
It is awaiting the U.S. Supreme Court decision in similar cases from other circuits.
The decision was announced on the court's website and posted links to identical orders in each case.
On the court’s own motion, oral arguments and any further consideration of these cases will be deferred pending the Supreme Court of the United States’ decisions in Nos. 14-556, 14- 562, 14-571, and 14-574 James Obergefell, et al. v. Richard Hodges, etc., et al.
The reference is to arguments yesterday before the U.S. Supreme Court, which is expected to rule by June. A decision by the Supreme Court won't necessarily address issues identical to those in the 8th Circuit cases, just as the decision won't resolve all questions pending in a separate case before the Arkansas Supreme Court.
The Arkansas court could, for example, rule that the state's own equal protection provision in our constitution prevents discrimination against gay people, a holding that would be rooted in the decision that overturned the state's criminal sodomy statute. That would be courageous decision, of coure, should the U.S. Supreme Court say states are free under the U.S. Constitution to discriminate against gay people in state law.
PS: New polling shows a majority of the people in Iowa
— Iowa — support same-sex marriage, 50-41. 80 percent say it has had no or a positive effect on their lives.
UPDATE: Attorney General Leslie Rutledge,
who is fighting to preserve legal discrimination against gay couples in Arkansas, issued a statement of disappointment:
“I am disappointed by the Eighth Circuit’s decision not to hold oral argument in Arkansas's appeal in defense of the constitutionality of Arkansas Amendment 83. This case is important to the people of Arkansas, and the Eighth Circuit has the authority to rule regardless of what is occurring before the U.S. Supreme Court.”