What you do in the bedroom-or more specifically who-shouldn't affect what you do in the jury box, a federal judge has ruled.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals took on a case where two pharmaceutical companies were fighting over the price of HIV medications as part of a licensing agreement. During jury selection, the defending drug company ejected the only member of the pool to identify as gay. The plaintiff challenged the ejection, but the judge denied the challenge.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled in January that excluding a juror due to his sexual orientation is incorrect, expanding previous court decisions that jurors cannot be excluded on the basis of race or sex. The court's ruling also suggests a significant shift in how judges will review future cases that touch on sexual orientation. The ruling drew from the Supreme Court's recent United States v. Windsor decision, which requires the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages that were legally performed by states. The appeals court determined that this Supreme Court ruling now requires a higher standard of evaluation when reviewing laws or regulations connected to sexual orientation.
"In its words and its deed, Windsor established a level of scrutiny for classifications based on sexual orientation that is unquestionably higher than rational basis review. In other words, Windsor requires that heightened scrutiny be applied to equal protection claims involving sexual orientation," the court noted.