Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Idaho And Nevada Marriage Bans Are Unconstitutional, Federal Appeals Court Rules

A fourth federal appeals court to reach the same conclusion.

The 9th Circuit ruling — regarding Idaho and Nevada — comes one day after same-sex couples began marrying again in Utah.

Jim Urquhart / Reuters

WASHINGTON — Idaho and Nevada's bans on same-sex couples' marriages are unconstitutional, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday.

Judge Stephen Reinhardt, writing for the unanimous panel, applied additional scrutiny to the claimed sexual orientation discrimination the same-sex couples in the two states faced by the bans. The 9th Circuit heald earlier this year that such additional scrutiny — heightened scrutiny — applies to sexual orientation claims under equal protection.

He wrote:

We hold that the Idaho and Nevada laws at issue violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because they deny lesbians and gays who wish to marry persons of the same sex a right they afford to individuals who wish to marry persons of the opposite sex, and do not satisfy the heightened scrutiny standard we adopted in SmithKline.

The ruling comes one day after the Supreme Court denied five states' appeals of other marriage cases where other appeals courts had ruled that those states' bans are unconstitutional.

In key, Reinhardt writes for the court:

In key, Reinhardt writes for the court:

Read the court's opinion:

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