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Appellate Court Strikes Down Gay-Marriage Bans In Idaho, Nevada

Joining three other appellate courts, the 9th Circuit Court on Tuesday struck down gay-marriage bans enacted by Idaho and Nevada.

"We hold that the Idaho and Nevada laws at issue violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment," Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote for the court.

The ruling comes a day after the Supreme Court gave tacit approval to similar decisions by three other circuit courts. As Bill Chappell reported, when the court refused to hear an appeal of those decisions, gay marriage became legal in 11 states, bringing the total number of states allowing gay marriage to 30.

In his decision, Reinhardt arrives at his conclusion in much the same way other courts had. He drew a line from Supreme Court decisions in Romer v. Evans, which struck down a Colorado constitutional amendment that denied homosexuals equal protection, to Lawrence v. Texas, which invalidated anti-sodomy laws, to the court's decision in Windsor, which invalidated the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Reinhardt concludes:

"Idaho and Nevada's same-sex marriage proscriptions are sex based, and these bans do serve to preserve 'invidious, archaic, and overbroad stereotypes' concerning gender roles. The bans therefore must fail as impermissible gender discrimination."

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