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Hundreds of gay marriage supporters rallied at a park near Cincinnati's riverfront on the eve of Wednesday's arguments, cheering and clapping as speakers urged equality for all.
Color guard and members of the Cincinnati Chapter of Scouts for Equality march through the crowd for the National Anthem at a rally led by the group Why Marriage Matters Ohio in support of gay marriage in Lytle Park, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014 in Cincinnati. Supreme Court to issue a final verdict. Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Ballet Lace
courts rule in favor of gay marriage, then nine states with pending appeals stand to have their bans stricken down altogether or ordered to recognize out of state gay marriages: Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas, Indiana, Wisconsin, Idaho and Nevada, though the decisions likely would be put on hold for a Supreme Court ruling.
Many of those at Tuesday's rally said they planned to rally outside the courthouse on Wednesday.
Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, said he could see the 6th ruling in either direction, considering Sutton's unpredictability.
"This is the kind of thing where you could see the conservative with a libertarian bent coming out in favor of gay marriage, but who knows?" said Mark Tushnet, a constitutional law professor at Harvard. "Having done Obamacare and maybe screwed his own chances for the Supreme Court, Sutton may feel liberated to do what he thinks is the right thing and go for marriage equality, or he may try to rehabilitate himself and go against it."
his death certificate so they can be buried next to each other in a family only plot, and a Knoxville, Tennessee, couple who say they want to both be listed on their newborn daughter's birth certificate.
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Mason Gersh, a 19 year old college student from Louisville, Kentucky, says he is hopeful that his state's ban will be overturned.
Plaintiffs in the 6th Circuit case include a Cincinnati man who wants his dead husband listed as married on Converse Shoes Hot Sale
Chris Seelbach, the first openly gay politician elected and currently sitting on the Cincinnati City Council, speaks in front of hundreds along with the group Why Marriage Matters Ohio at a rally for gay marriage in Lytle Park, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014 in Cincinnati. Supreme Court to issue a final verdict. Supreme Court to issue a final verdict.
"We're going to be racking up more courts of appeals decisions, and every one we get puts more pressure on the Supreme Court to weigh in," said Douglas NeJaime, a law professor at the University of California Irvine. "It's very likely the Supreme Court ultimately settles this question. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati will hear arguments from attorneys in six cases from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, all Wednesday, the most of any federal appeals court so far.
Wearing T shirts and toting signs calling for the freedom to marry, many said they just want to be treated like everyone else.
The three judges at the 6th Circuit set to hear gay marriage arguments Wednesday are Jeffrey S. Sutton and Judge Deborah L. Cook, both George W. Bush nominees, and Martha Craig Daughtrey, a Clinton nominee.
Observers say the 6th or 5th circuits could deliver the first victory for gay marriage opponents.
(AP Photo/The Cincinnati Enquirer, Ladies Pink Converse Trainers Uk Jeff Swinger)
If even one ruling goes against them in the four courts taking up the issue in the coming weeks, it would create a divide that the Supreme Court also could find difficult to resist settling.
"We are the same as everyone else, and we have dreams like everyone else," said Barry Schlaile, 60, of Kettering, Ohio, and New Orleans. He and his longtime partner, 70 year old David Donovan, stressed their point with signs saying: "End our 37 year engagement at the altar."
Five additional states under those four circuit courts have gay marriage lawsuits awaiting decisions by federal judges: Alaska, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi and Montana.
Arguments similar to those set to be heard Wednesday will take place Aug. 26 in the 7th Circuit in Chicago, for bans in Wisconsin and Indiana, and for Sept. 8 in the 9th Circuit in San Francisco, for bans in Idaho and Nevada. The 5th Circuit in New Orleans is expected to soon set a date to hear arguments on Texas' ban.
The flurry of arguments means an upcoming spate of rulings, possibly all issued this autumn, that could profoundly alter the nation's marriage laws.
If the appeals judges continue the unbroken eight month streak of rulings in favor of gay marriage, that could make it easier for the nation's highest court to come down on the side of supporters.
Among them, Sutton is considered to be the least predictable.
Still, opponents of gay marriage likely could rely on the 5th Circuit to give them a win. The court is heavily conservative, and the odds of a majority or full panel of Republican nominees is much likelier there.
In 2011, he shocked Republicans when he became the deciding vote in a 6th Circuit ruling that upheld the Obama administration's health care overhaul.
"But the fight for equality doesn't end with marriage," said Gersh, who is gay. "There is also discrimination in areas like employment and housing, and there is much more that needs to be done."
Gay marriage supporters, including former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, are holding a rally Tuesday at a downtown Cincinnati park. More rallies by supporters and opponents are expected outside the courthouse Wednesday.
Gay marriage arguments flooding federal courts
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