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Appeals court upholds same-sex marriage bans, setting up Supreme Court showdown

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit on Thursday ruled in favor of same-sex marriage bans in four states, becoming the first appeals court in the nation to do so.

The ruling reverses lower court rulings that struck down gay marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. Four other appeals courts had ruled against same-sex bans, meaning there is now discord that could prompt the Supreme Court to take up the issue once again. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in September that "there will be some urgency" for the high court to act if the 6th Circuit were to allow gay marriage bans to stand.

"When the courts do not let the people resolve new social issues like this one, they perpetuate the idea that the heroes in these change events are judges and lawyers," Judge Jeffrey Sutton wrote in the court's 2-1 ruling. "Better in this instance, we think, to allow change through the customary political processes, in which the people, gay and straight alike, become the heroes of their own stories by meeting each other not as adversaries in a court system but as fellow citizens seeking to resolve a new social issue in a fair-minded way."