Gay Marriage

Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Gay Marriage Bans in Idaho and Nevada


Another day, another federal appeals court invalidates a state ban on gay marriage. Writing today for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, Judge Stephen Reinhardt struck down Idaho and Nevada's prohibitions on same-sex unions:

[The states'] essential contention is that bans on same-sex marriage promote the welfare of children, by encouraging good parenting in stable opposite-sex families. Heightened scrutiny, however, demands more than speculation and conclusory assertions, especially when the assertions are of such little merit. [The states] have presented no evidence of any such effort. Indeed, they cannot even explain the manner in which, as they predict, children of opposite-sex couples will be harmed. Their other contentions are equally without merit. Because defendants have failed to demonstrate that these laws further any legitimate purpose, they unjustifiable discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, and are in violation of the Equal Protection Clause.

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review federal circuit court opinions overturning gay marriage bans in Virginia, Oklahoma, Utah, Wisconsin, and Indiana. In fact, since the Court's 2013 decision striking down a portion of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, no federal appeals court has upheld a gay marriage ban.

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  1. If you are surprised by the 9th Circuit ruling in favor of gay marriage, see a doctor immediately.

  2. I’m still waiting for the ban in Ohio to be overturned before I start shopping for a wedding gift for Warty and Epi.

    1. Hah! Like they’ll ever get “married”!

      Pfffffft! *snort*

    2. They’re in Ohio?

  3. Come on, Root. If Shackford can be on board with using the correct qualifier “recognition” then why can’t you? When debating ideas, words matter. (Except maybe qualifier, which might not be the exact word I’m looking for there.)

    1. I’m not sure, are there unrecognized marriages? When I googled the definition of marriage I got this:

      “the legally or formally recognized union of a man and a woman (or, in some jurisdictions, two people of the same sex) as partners in a relationship.”

      1. You know I can’t argue with Google.

      2. are there unrecognized marriages

        There are, and always have been, unlicensed marriages. And are, to this day. Generally, these go by “common law” marriage or occasionally “covenant” marriage.

        Note, also, the “legally or formally”. This means that, as an alternative to a “legally” recognized marriage, you can have one that is “formally” recognized. As, for example, by a church.

  4. Even the ultra-conservative 9th Circuit…

  5. More U.S. States Push for Gay Unions in Wake of High Court Decision

    Seem more like federal judges are the ones doing the pushing.

    1. Actually a number of state Attorneys General and Clerk & Recorder types are pushing one another to start issuing gay marriage licenses.

      1. They’re the ones pushing to get a federal judge to strike down the law rather then say get the state legislature to change the law.

    2. Push for Gay Unions

      “Frequency of Thrusts Picks Up”

  6. So now gay people can get drunkenly married in Vegas?

    1. +1 drive=thru wedding

  7. Having glanced at the opinion, where they cite the statutes at issue on the first couple of pages, what was struck down was not a ban on gay marriage. What was struck down was the state’s refusal to license gay marriage.


    Another day, another federal appeals court invalidates orders a state ban on to license gay marriage.

    Not quite so heartwarming, is it?

    And, it looks to me like this court also ordered the state to recognize other state’s gay marriage licenses.

    So, we are now faced with the spectacle of a soi disant libertarian publication cheering on the consolidation of power in the hands of the central authorities. Because there’s no system that supports individual liberty like one with an all-powerful centralized state.

    I support state licensing of gay marriage. I don’t think federalizing this issue to accelerate the process is worth the price, though. Your opinion may vary, but if so, think long and hard about this precedent being applied to an issue where you and the federal judiciary don’t see eye to eye.

    1. So, we are now faced with the spectacle of a soi disant libertarian publication cheering on the consolidation of power in the hands of the central authorities.

      They are cheering on the courts doing their jobs, which is striking down legislation that infringes on the Constitutional rights of individuals, in this case to receive equal protection under the law. The the courts do not take this responsibility seriously in regards to other issues, such as gun control, should be concerning, but we should at least celebrate when they do get it right.

      1. Disagree with thom – think MM has it right. This is a state issue, not a federal one, and I don’t cheer the feds butting in, DESPITE the fact that I generally support could not care less about gay or other marriage and therefore don’t want to see prohibitions against it (cause – free to be you and me).

        1. The courts had to decide one way or another. You can’t get out of federal intervention unless you want to argue that these cases had no possible merit and couldn’t be brought to court.

        2. And given the trajectory of most of the cases, it was usually the defenders of laws banning gay marriage appealing the rulings. So blame them for escalating it to the federal level.

          1. What utter bullshit. The cases have been brought in federal court by the pro-gay-marriage folks.

            And, yeah, the courts were going to have to decide them. That doesn’t mean they have to decide them to mandate licensing of gay marriage. For which I think the Constitutional case is astoundingly weak. The courts could and should have ruled that (a) yes, this is an area of state, not federal authority and (b) that the state’s exercise of that authority to continue the practice of not licensing gay marriages does not violate Equal Protection, because marriage (can) still mean “one man one woman”.

            1. So gay couples who aren’t allowed to marry because of a state law should not be allowed to bring their case to state court? Or they should only be allowed if the courts promise to rule your way? It became a federal issue when the losers decided to appeal, which is the gripe I’m responding to.

              Since most courts have ruled against your position, you’re either wrong or they are, when it comes to interpreting the constitution. As a layperson I find it an equal protection problem so blindingly obvious that I’d expect courts to rule as nearly unanimously as they have. But keep fighting the good fight.

      2. They are cheering on the courts doing their jobs, which is striking down legislation that infringes on the Constitutional rights of individuals,

        The Equal Protection argument for mandatory licensing of gay marriage rests on the fallacy of “assuming the conclusion” of what “marriage” really means.

        The argument evaporates if you believe “marriage” still means what it has since the country was founded, namely, “one man and one woman.” It only works if you assume the definition has changed to “any two adults”, so that a state’s attempt to restrict it is an infringement on the rights of people who would otherwise qualify.

  8. Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Gay Marriage Bans in … Nevada

    It’s about time! The ability to get married to a hooker by an Elvis Impersonator while black-out drunk should be the birthright of all Americans, not just the heterosexual!

  9. I hate being on the same side of an issue as Stephen Reinhardt.

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