Wednesday, October 08, 2014

9th Circuit: Same-Sex Marriage Bans In Idaho and Nevada Are Unconstitutional

In Latta v. Otter, (9th Cir., Oct. 7, 2014), a 3-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held unanimously that laws in Idaho and Nevada that prohibit same-sex marriage and recognition of same-sex marriages performed elsewhere violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment because they discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Judge Reinhardt, who wrote the court's opinion, also filed a concurring opinion arguing that the bans also infringe plaintiffs' fundamental right to marriage protected by the 14th Amendment's due process clause.  Judge Berzon wrote a concurring opinion holding that the bans also amount to unconstitutional discrimination on the basis of gender.

A mandate issued by the 9th Circuit yesterday evening decreed that its decision takes effect immediately.

Reporting on the decision, Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog says that the decision is expected to control pending challenges to similar laws in Alaska, Arizona and Montana-- all in the 9th Circuit.