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Mapping The Impact Of The Obergefell Decision On States


And joining me in the studio, NPR's Danielle Kurtzleben. She covers politics for NPR and has been watching how states might be impacted by this landmark ruling.

Danielle, welcome.


GREENE: So give us sort of the legal breakdown here. How many states are going to see, you know, a very important change in the law because of this decision?

KURTZLEBEN: You have 13 states that had had bans in place before this ruling, and those are Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

GREENE: To our listeners - you were reading. You did not memorize all of those.

KURTZLEBEN: Right, yes.

GREENE: And what will this change be exactly, and how quickly will it happen?

KURTZLEBEN: Right. So I am seeing reports that in the four states that this ruling dealt with, the cases that came before the Supreme Court, came from Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan and Kentucky.

GREENE: And these four states, they were covered by a circuit court that had allowed bans to stay in place, we should say - that's why those states were sort of prominent and central to the Supreme Court decision.

KURTZLEBEN: Correct, and I've read reports that marriages are happening already in parts of those states, that places were ready for this to happen in some states. However, this doesn't mean it's going to happen immediately everywhere.

GREENE: Were places ready? I mean, didn't they have to print out, you know, licenses and so forth? They had those ready to go?

KURTZLEBEN: Some did, yes.


KURTZLEBEN: But of course not every state is ready for that. Not every clerk in every part of every - at every part of the country is ready for that.

GREENE: What can you tell us about public opinion on this issue and how it has changed and sort of where things stand today?

KURTZLEBEN: It has - I mean - to put it bluntly, it's changed super-fast, very fast as far as public opinion changes go in this country. So as of June - first of all, 57 percent of Americans told Pew that they approve of gay marriage. Now, consider that only five years ago only around 40 percent of Americans approved. So you went from 40 to almost two-thirds in five years. That is fantastically fast. Backing up even further, as of the late 1990s, less than 30 percent of Americans approved. So this swing has come in a dramatic fashion.

GREENE: Of course if you start a political breakdown, much of the opposition to same-sex marriage is among Republicans, which we've already seen some Republican political leaders, presidential candidates, sort of trying to strike a balance in reaction to this decision. And I guess that's going to be - sort of the political impact of this is going to be interesting to watch as we head into an election here.

KURTZLEBEN: Right and that very much is true. I was talking to a Republican strategist earlier this month about this, and he was saying, you know, you're going to see, you have already seen Republicans softening their tone on gay marriage. Part of this is because a lot of the opposition to gay marriage is from the religious right. And what you have is a country that is also becoming less and less religious. And as that happens, you have fewer people with that rationale for opposing gay marriage and therefore politicians have to change whether and how they say they're opposed to gay marriage.

GREENE: All right. That's NPR's Danielle Kurtzleben, who's been - who covers politics for NPR and has been watching the state impact of this ruling and also the political climate.

Danielle, thanks a lot.

KURTZLEBEN: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.