Neel Lane

Neel Lane (photo by Erin Moore)

Neel Lane, attorney the plaintiffs in the Texas marriage equality case recently heard by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals says that even though the U.S. Supreme Court has announced it will hear marriage equality cases in April to decide the issue nationwide, he and his clients still want a ruling from the 5th Circuit court.

In an statement issued this afternoon (Friday, Jan. 16), shortly after the SCOTUS decision was announced, Lane said:

“It is clear now that the Supreme Court is poised to answer the great civil rights question of our generation: Does every citizen have the right to marry the person they love, irrespective of that person’s gender? We believe that the Fifth Circuit should still answer this question independently — and in the affirmative — because our clients have already waited too long for equality and justice.”

Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, said of the announcement:

“The Supreme Court’s decision today begins what we hope will be the last chapter in our campaign to win marriage nationwide — and it’s time. Freedom to Marry’s national strategy has been to build a critical mass of marriage states and critical mass of support for ending marriage discrimination, and after a long journey and much debate, America is ready for the freedom to marry.

“But couples are still discriminated against in 14 states, and the patchwork of discrimination harms families and businesses throughout the country. We will keep working hard to underscore the urgency of the Supreme Court’s bringing the country to national resolution, so that by June, all Americans share in the freedom to marry and our country stands on the right side of history.”

According to a commenter on the Freedom to Marry website, this is the schedule for the cases:

“The cases are consolidated and the petitions for writs of certiorari are granted limited to the following questions: 1) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex? 2) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state? A total of ninety minutes is allotted for oral argument on Question 1. A total of one hour is allotted for oral argument on Question 2. The parties are limited to filing briefs on the merits and presenting oral argument on the questions presented in their respective petitions. The briefs of petitioners are to be filed on or before 2 p.m., Friday, February 27, 2015. The briefs of respondents are to be filed on or before 2 p.m., Friday, March 27, 2015. The reply briefs are to be filed on or before 2 p.m., Friday, April 17, 2015.”