Supreme Court watchers try to divine how the justices will vote, interpreting words, tones, and gestures. After hearings yesterday on California’s ban on same-sex marriage, the divinations suggest that the high court won’t make a nationwide ruling for or against same-sex marriage. Rather, it may leave the decision up to the individual states, allowing each one to experiment.
If that happens, will you be satisfied?
Earlier Supreme Courts have left other matters to the states—such as racial voting rights and desegregation—then later had to step in to make nationwide rulings.
If gay marriage is left to the states, there is one place—even in a state with a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage—where the law doesn’t apply. Native American tribes. These are considered to be “domestic dependent nations.” They are sovereign nations, though not quite on par with, say, Canada. As a sovereign nation, they are not bound by state laws.
A case in point is The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in northern Michigan. The tribe is not bound by Michigan’s constitutional ban on gay marriage. Earlier this month, the Tribal Council voted in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. Soon after, it performed its first marriage ceremony of two men.
Would you like the Supreme Court to make a nationwide ruling?
Would you be happier with state-by-state laws?
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