Cincinnati is ground zero this week in the battle for same-sex marriage as a three-judge panel from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear challenges to state constitution same-sex marriage bans in Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Michigan.
A same-sex marriage showdown happens in Cincinnati on Wednesday as three federal appeals judges, including two Ohioans, hear marriage cases from Ohio and three neighboring states.
It will be the single-largest legal event in the same-sex marriage debate since June 26, 2013, when the U.S. Supreme Court declared part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional. Since then, every major federal and state court ruling nationwide has gone in favor of gay-marriage proponents.
The Cincinnati hearings are expected to draw such large crowds of journalists and spectators to the Potter Stewart U.S. Courthouse that the clerk of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has set up two overflow courtrooms equipped with piped-in audio of the proceedings.
The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law determined that about 18,300 children of same-sex couples, and nearly 52,400 same-sex couples, could be affected by the outcome of the five cases. The group said Ohio has about 19,684 same-sex couples — 54 percent of whom are female — and more than 3,760 same-sex-couple households raising nearly 6,800 children.
If there is a Circuit Court where the decision will go in favor of "traditional values" (you know, like bigotry), it's the conservative 6th. Two judges on the three-judge panel were appointed by good ol' Dubya, one by Bill Clinton. I don't expect this to go well for the forces of justice here.
It's a moot point in the long run, however. Utah has already appealed the 10th Circuit's decision in favor of same-sex marriage to the Supreme Court this week. A group appealing the 4th Circuit's decision in favor of marriage equality in Virginia last week will file quickly as well.
Should the 6th Circuit embarrass itself as much as I expect it to, a Supreme Court hearing would then be inevitable with differing Circuit Court opinions.
We'll see what happens.