Let’s say you won the Super Bowl of gay marriage lawsuits, and got the federal Defense of Marriage Act overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. What would you do next? (Aside from celebrate, of course.)
Well, obviously, you would turn your attention to overturning a marriage ban in the most antigay state in the country: Mississippi.
In 2009, nerdy heartthrob Nate Silver predicted that Mississippi would be the last state with a majority in support of marriage equality. (Target date: 2024.) But hero lawyer Robbie Kaplan isn’t waiting for another decade. She’s taking the state to federal court, and that’s a big big deal. If anyone has a shot at getting that state’s ban struck down, it’s her.
We have Kaplan (and also her client, Edie Windsor, and a huge team of legal professionals) to thank for the dozens of victories for marriage that we’ve seen in the last year and a half. After Kaplan & Company vanquished DOMA, state and federal courts suddenly had a ton of ammunition for striking down marriage bans. That DOMA ruling basically provided a road map for winning full national marriage equality.
And now she’s going head-to-head with lawyers from a state where only 22 percent of voters support the freedom to marry. That takes a lot of courage and a lot of legal talent, and luckily enough she has both. Last week, a court in Mississippi heard oral argument, and Kaplan ran circles around anti-gay state lawyers. The court will issue a ruling any day now, and then the case moves on to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, where it’ll join two contentious lawsuits from Louisiana and Texas. (You might remember that Louisiana case from a few weeks ago — it was the first federal case in which a marriage ban was upheld since the DOMA decision.)
Once the Fifth Circuit rules, it’s on to the U.S. Supreme Court. So Kaplan could wind up back in DC, arguing once again for our rights.