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Gay marriage extended to five more American states

A Supreme Court decision today means that same-sex couples can now marry in up to 30 states in the US.

Nicole Pries and Lindsey Oliver share a kiss as they celebrate being one of the first same-sex couples in Virginia to marry.
Nicole Pries and Lindsey Oliver share a kiss as they celebrate being one of the first same-sex couples in Virginia to marry.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

SAME-SEX COUPLES in America will soon be able to marry in up to 30 states after the Supreme Court declined to consider a nationwide ruling on the issue.

Today the court snubbed appeals from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin, where state-level bans on gay marriage had been deemed unconstitutional.

Marriages in those five states had been on hold pending the court’s decision on whether to hear the cases.

Nineteen US states already recognise marriage equality, after the Supreme Court last year ruled that under federal law, wedded same-sex couples were entitled to the same rights and privileges as heterosexual couples.

Today’s decision means the number of states permitting gay marriage now stands at 24.

The court also left in place rulings in six other states meaning same-sex couples in West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming will soon be able to marry as well.

Virginia’s attorney general Mark Herring was among the first to tweet about the news.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe told AFP that that state is “already well-prepared to implement this historic decision”.

Chad Griffin, the Chairman of the Human Rights Campaign, a prominent gay rights organisation based in Washington, described the news as “joyous”.

However, he cautioned that “a complex and discriminatory patchwork of marriage laws” remains — with same-sex unions still outlawed in many states.

The Washington Post has reported that public support for marriage equality has increased from 37% in 2003 to 56% in 2014.

w post gay marriage

The National Organization for Marriage [sic] is among the organisations calling for Congress to put an amendment in the Constitution “to codify and define marriage once and for all” as between a man and a woman.

“We need this amendment to firmly protect marriage and prevent a radical redefinition of marriage being foisted on the whole nation,” it says.

State bans on same-sex marriage are currently being challenged in 13 states.

A referendum on Marriage Equality is set to take place in Ireland next Spring.

Additional reporting: AFP

Read: Thousands march to demand marriage equality

Read: Vivian and Alice are both in their 90s and have been together 72 years. They tied the knot on Saturday.

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Órla Ryan

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