October 2, 2014 / 1:45 PM / in 3 years

Supreme Court takes no immediate action on gay marriage cases

2 Min Read

A gay couple holds hands during a rally in support of the United States Supreme Court decision on marriage rights in San Diego, California June 26, 2013.Mike Blake

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday took no action over whether it plans to take up the question of whether states can ban gay marriage.

The seven different cases pending before the court were not mentioned in a list of new cases the court agreed to hear on Thursday ahead of its new term, which starts on Monday.

The move does not necessarily mean the court will decline to hear the cases during the new term. It often takes more time to consider particularly noteworthy or complicated cases before deciding whether to take them up.

The court has seven cases pending before it concerning bans in five states: Virginia, Utah, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Indiana. If the court agrees to take one or more of the cases, it would have the chance to rule when, if ever, gay men and women in the 31 states that now bar them from marrying could get marriage licenses.

Gay marriage advocates have won a stream of court victories since the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in June 2013 in a case called U.S. v. Windsor to strike down a key part of a federal law that had restricted the definition of marriage to heterosexual couples for the purpose of federal government benefits.

The momentum within America's courts in favor of gay marriage reflects a sea-change in public opinion in the past decade, with polls showing a steady increase in support. Politicians, mostly Democrats but also some notable Republicans, have increasingly voiced their support for ending bans.

Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham

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