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Federal appeals court hears arguments on same-sex marriage

[JURIST] A three-judge panel from the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit [official website] heard arguments Tuesday on Wisconsin and Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage. The oral arguments lasted an hour and 40 minutes, during which judges directed tough questions [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report] to both sides. Some judges called the states' support of bans "absurd" and "ridiculous." Federal Judge Richard Posner [official website] reportedly balked [AP report] when Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Timothy Samuelson made the argument that "tradition" should preserve the ban on same-sex marriage. Posner responded to this argument by stating that "It was tradition to not allow blacks and whites to marry—a tradition that got swept away" and that a ban on same-sex marriage is rooted in a "tradition of hate." A ruling from the Seventh Circuit is in the near future.

Since the US Supreme Court struck down [JURIST report] section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act [text] last year, numerous state and federal courts have declared state same-sex marriage bans [JURIST backgrounder] unconstitutional. In June a federal judge in Indiana ruled the state's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional [JURIST report]. Also in June the ACLU challenged Alabama's same sex marriage ban, days after Wisconsin's same-sex marriage ban [JURIST reports] was struck down. In May a federal judge struck down [JURIST report] Pennsylvania's same sex marriage ban. That followed a similar ruling in Oregon, where a federal judge struck down [JURIST report] that state's same sex marriage ban as well. Nineteen US states currently allow same-sex marriage, and more than 70 lawsuits are pending in all 31 others.

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