Same Sex Marriage Laws Update: Federal Judge to Hear Arguments on Marriage Equality in 3 States
Three federal judges, randomly selected from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, will hear arguments Monday on whether to uphold bans on same-sex marriage in Idaho, Nevada and Hawaii.
Stephen Reinhardt, Marsha Berzon and Ronald Gould were the judges chosen and each have ruled in favor of gay rights in the past, according to a report from The Los Angeles Times.
Several appeals courts this year have heard cases regarding same-sex marriage. Recently, an appeals court judge overturned a Virginia law banning same-sex marriages.
Jon Davidson, legal director of gay-rights group Lambda Legal, said he believes that precedent is on the side of same-sex marriage in the case of Idaho, Nevada and Hawaii, saying it should be "an easy case for the 9th Circuit to decide."
"I don't know of any other civil-rights issue in America that has seen as rapid a change as this, both in the courts and public opinion," Davidson said.
Reinhardt has a history of ruling on gay-marriage bans, as he was the judge to strike down California's ban on same-sex marriage. Berzon and Reinhardt both ruled in January that gays could not be removed from juries because of their sexual orientation.
Gould, the third judge in the case, ruled in favor of a military nurse who filed a lawsuit after she was fired under the old "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which has since been struck down.
The 9th Circuit hearings surface has gay-marriage has picked up a lot of support in federal courts this year, with bans in more than a dozen states being thrown out, according to The Associated Press.
Last week, a federal appeals court in Chicago nullified gay-marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana, while a judge in Louisiana stood behind that state's ban. On the same day as the Chicago ruling, more than 30 states asked the US. Supreme Court to rule on same-sex marriage.
"Until all 50 states get on board, it's a legal battle from state to state," said Tara Newberry, one of the plaintiffs in the Nevada case. "The map is changing. But until the Supreme Court of the United States makes the determination, it's state-by-state."
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