BREAKING: Appeals Court Scraps Gay Marriage Bans In Wisconsin, Indiana

Jo Beaudry holds up a sign as she joins nearly 250 gay rights supporters protesting SB1062 at the Arizona Capitol, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, in Phoenix. The protesters gathered demanding Gov. Jan Brewer veto legislatio... Jo Beaudry holds up a sign as she joins nearly 250 gay rights supporters protesting SB1062 at the Arizona Capitol, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, in Phoenix. The protesters gathered demanding Gov. Jan Brewer veto legislation that would allow business owners to refuse to serve gays by citing their religious beliefs. The governor must sign or veto Senate Bill 1062 by the end of next week. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) MORE LESS
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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday overturned same-sex marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana.

“The discrimination against same-sex couples is irrational, and therefore unconstitutional even if the discrimination is not subjected to heightened scrutiny, which is why we can largely elide the more complex analysis found in more closely balanced equal-protection cases,” Judge Richard Posner wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel.

The ruling makes it the third federal appeals court to conclude that state prohibitions on gay marriage violate the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection. Advocates for marriage equality have enjoyed many victories since the Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that the federal government may not deny equal benefits to legally married gay couples.

Posner, a Reagan appointee, said the cases were formally about “discrimination against the small homosexual minority” but “at a deeper level, as we shall see, they are about the welfare of American children.”

“Our pair of cases is rich in detail but ultimately straightforward to decide,” he wrote. “The challenged laws discriminate against a minority defined by an immutable characteristic, and the only rationale that the states put forth with any conviction — that same-sex couples and their children don’t need marriage because same-sex couples can’t produce children, intended or unintended — is so full of holes that it cannot be taken seriously.”

The decision will be appealed by Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, a Republican.

“The Attorney General has always believed that this case will ultimately be decided by the United States Supreme Court. The stay remains in effect until all appeals have been concluded,” Dana Brueck, a spokesperson for the AG, said in an email.

7th Circuit ruling gay marriage

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  1. Avatar for dwward dwward says:

    Judge Posner was the toast of conservatives when Reagan appointed him and considered to be an ideal SCOTUS candidate. His writing this decision is a really big deal for marriage equality advocates. His holding that gay marriage bans are "irrational"and don’t even require equal protection analysis is extraordinarily good news for equality proponents.

  2. Most TPM readers could write these decisions for the judges now.

    I love how all the judges overturning bans have pretty much said that the proponents of the bans have failed to come up with a single rational justification in any of the cases.

  3. Proof again that when your only arguments are “it’s icky” and “my bible says,” you are doomed to failure at the appellate level.

  4. I don’t mean to rain poodie-doo on everyone’s parade, but just remember.

    Conservatives don’t really care who we marry. As long as they get us to look the other way while the public sector is dismantled and sold off, workers’ protection nullified, and the middle class unceremoniously dumped into indentured servitude, they’re willing to throw us a social bone.

    No pun intended. But seriously folks, now that we are well on the way to marriage equality (and about fuggin’ time), we need to bring all this enthusiasm to bear on economic equality.

  5. Hark! I do hear me the sweet, sweet sound of Teabagger heads, exploding with the tiniest of pops all over this land!

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