Courts Hear Cases on Same-Sex Marriage in Oklahoma, Abortion in Massachusetts and Arizona

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There were several major court decisions this week about abortion and same-sex marriage. A federal judge in Oklahoma struck down a state ban on same-sex marriage. Weddings will not begin just yet, however. The judge stayed his decision, expecting the state to appeal. The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case pitting anti-abortion activists against the state of Massachusetts. Massachusetts is defending its “buffer zone” law, which requires that anti-abortion protests take place no closer than 35 feet from the entrances to clinics that perform abortions. Anti-abortion activists say the law violates their exercise of free speech. In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled in its famous Roe v. Wade decision that states could not restrict abortions before 24 weeks of pregnancy. Since then, more than a dozen states, including Arizona, have passed laws restricting abortion after 20 weeks. Last year the U.S. Court of Appeals struck down the Arizona law, saying it was unconstitutional, and this week, in a blow to abortion opponents, the Supreme Court decided not to review the appeals court decision.