Van Hollen Appeals Same-Sex Marriage Ban Ruling To U.S. Supreme Court

Attorney General Argues Wisconsin's Case Is 'Ideal Vehicle' For Supreme Court To Rule On Issue Of Same-Sex Marriage Bans

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. Photo: WisPolitics (CC-BY-SA).

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen filed appealed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court in a legal challenge to Wisconsin’s same-sex marriage ban.

In a petition to the court, Van Hollen wrote that Wisconsin’s case “is the ideal vehicle” to resolve the nationwide debate over marriage. He argues that it presents issues that other marriage cases don’t. For example, the ban was added to the state constitution by voters, there’s an accompanying state statute covering domestic partnerships, and both Van Hollen and Gov. Scott Walker are actively defending the law.

University of Richmond Law Professor Carl Tobias said Van Hollen’s petition is remarkably similar to what other state attorneys general are telling the court. “Everybody seems to be in a hurry to convince the Supreme Court that their case is the right one,” he said.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Wisconsin’s case was the third federal appeals court decision to strike down a same-sex marriage ban. Tobias said there’s a chance another circuit covering the states of Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee will uphold bans in each of those states.

He thinks the Supreme Court will want to wait until that decision and others are handed down.

“I think the Court will want to see the reasoning of more than just one or two appeals courts,” said Tobias.

Tobias said that if there are conflicting appeals court rulings, that it increases the likelihood that the U.S. Supreme Court will step in to resolve the issue.

“Most legal observers believe the court’s likely to take the case this term, and likely to rule in favor of plaintiffs,” he said. “But it’s not a certain thing.”

After Van Hollen formally appealed, plaintiff Virginia Wolf said she was happy to know the state of Wisconsin may be part of the ultimate, national decision on marriage equality.