(INDIANAPOLIS) - Monday's ruling by a federal judge in Ohio is the ninth in four months ordering states to recognize some or all gay marriages.
Courts in five states have struck down gay-marriage bans, while Ohio and Kentucky judges have ordered recognition of same-sex marriages from other states. Federal judges in Indiana and Tennessee issued rulings limited to the couples who filed suit.
IUPUI McKinney School of Law Professor David Orentlicher says there's a snowball effect, as judges confronting the question for the first time look to precedents from other states, and find a growing number of rulings in favor of same-sex marriage. Orentlicher predicts the winning streak will break as the cases reach appeals courts.
To some degree, lawyers can look for trial courts likely to rule their way, while federal appeals courts either hear cases with a full panel of 11 judges or randomly select three of them.
Orentlicher speculates Indiana's ban might face trouble in the Chicago-based Seventh Circuit. He notes Judge Richard Posner, considered one of the court's intellectual leaders, has a reputation as a conservative with strong libertarian leanings. But Orentlicher says different federal circuits are likely to come down on both sides of the issue.
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