NEWS | Meredith Flynn
At the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in June, Birmingham pastor David Platt chuckled when a fellow panelist asked him to give an update on his state and same-sex marriage. Alabama was standing firm, Platt said. No one would have argued with him eight months ago.
But court rulings have fallen like dominoes across the country over the past several days, making same-sex marriage a nearing reality for even the most conservative states.
A federal judge in Kentucky today ordered officials to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. The state’s Attorney General has asked for a 90-day delay to determine whether to appeal a Feb. 12 ruling that overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
And Texas on Wednesday became the latest state to have its ban on same-sex marriage overturned by a federal judge. Like in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia and Kentucky, the ruling was immediately stayed, pending appeal.
The rulings came after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Monday that state attorneys general do not have to defend laws they view as discriminatory. From the The New York Times: “Mr. Holder was careful not to encourage his state counterparts to disavow their own laws, but said that officials who have carefully studied bans on gay marriage could refuse to defend them.”
Even after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act in June, the Bible belt seemed the least likely region to embrace a new definition of marriage. But the rulings in Kentucky and Texas (and traditionally conservative Utah) make one wonder where it might happen next.
PolicyMic.com asked the same question last summer, but in reverse. They listed the top 7 states least likely to support marriage equality, with Mississippi in the top spot. Sixth on the list was Utah. And at #4, Kentucky.
What a difference eight months makes.
Meredith Flynn is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.