[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit [official website] on Thursday upheld [opinion, PDF] lower courts’ decisions striking down the same-sex marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana [JURIST reports]. The court heard oral arguments [JURIST report] on the bans in August. Writing for a unanimous court, Judge Richard Posner states that neither state has supplied a rational, or even reasonable basis for forbidding same-sex marriage. As such, the laws violate the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment [text]. The Indiana and Wisconsin [press releases] Attorneys General plan to appeal the ruling to the US Supreme Court [official website].
Since the Supreme Court struck down [JURIST report] section three of the Defense of Marriage Act [text] last year, numerous state and federal courts have declared state same-sex marriage bans [JURIST backgrounder] unconstitutional. Earlier this month the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana [official website] became the first federal court to uphold a state same-sex marriage ban since the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor. In August the Florida Second District Court of Appeal [official website] issued an opinion calling for a ruling on the constitutionality of the state’s same-sex marriage ban [JURIST report] by the Florida Supreme Court [official website]. The same day, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] dismissed a challenge by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) [advocacy website] to reinstate Oregon’s same-sex marriage ban, which was ruled unconstitutional [JURIST report] by a federal district court in May. Currently, 19 US states and DC allow same-sex marriage, and more than 70 lawsuits relating to same-sex marriage [Freedom to Marry factsheets] are pending in 32 states.