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.