December 5, 2012
Judge: Gay Victories One Reason Nevada Can Ban Same-Sex Marriage (UPDATED)
Nevada judge says Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause not relevant given political clout of gays and lesbians.
(Update: A group opposed to same-sex marriage has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to consider this case (without waiting for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to address it first) because they would rather have the high court use this case to rule on same-sex marriage instead of the other cases before it.)
As the U.S. Supreme Court remains silent on whether or not it will hear cases relating to same-sex marriage, a federal judge in Nevada has ruled in favor of the state's existing ban.
Specifically, the court ruled that Nevada's decision to recognize same-sex civil unions but not same-sex marriages does not violate the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.
"It simply cannot be seriously maintained, in light of [same-sex marriage ballot measures in Maine, Maryland, and Washington] and other recent democratic victories, that homosexuals do not have the ability to protect themselves from discrimination through democratic processes," the decision stated.
The judge also ruled that the policy does not relegate some citizens to "second-class" status, as plaintiffs had alleged. Rather, the court stated that "the protection of the traditional institution of marriage, which is a conceivable basis for the distinction drawn in this case, is a legitimate state interest."