CHICAGO (AP) - A U.S. appeals court issued a scathing, unequivocal ruling Thursday declaring that gay marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana violated the U.S. Constitution - a decision released a little more than a week after oral arguments from a normally slow and deliberative court.
The unanimous, 40-page decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago blasted the states’ justifications for their bans, several times singling out the argument that only marriage between a man and a woman should be allowed because it is - simply - tradition.
There are “bad traditions that are historical realities such as cannibalism, foot-binding, and suttee, and traditions that … are neither good nor bad - such as trick-or-treating on Halloween,” the ruling says. “Tradition per se therefore cannot be a lawful ground for discrimination - regardless of the age of the tradition.”
It also laid into another argument from the states that gays should not be allowed to marry because, on their own, they can’t procreate, saying that rationale “is so full of holes that it cannot be taken seriously.”
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B Van Hollen said he would appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Same-sex marriage is legal in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Bans that have been overturned in some other states continue to make their way through the courts. Since last year, the vast majority of federal rulings have declared same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional.
The Wisconsin and Indiana cases shifted to Chicago after the states appealed lower court rulings tossing the bans. The 7th Circuit halted those rulings while it considered the cases.
MILWAUKEE (AP) - Gay couples and their supporters are gathering in Milwaukee to celebrate an appeals court decision declaring Wisconsin’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.
Couples who filed the lawsuit seeking to overturn the ban say they realize it could be a while before the matter is settled since Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has said he will appeal Thursday’s ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.
But Charvonne Kemp, of Milwaukee, says she is heartened by how fast the case has already moved. She says she was prepared for it to take five to 10 years to get an appeals court decision. Instead, it has taken less than 10 months.