Eleven state attorneys general have
signed on to a filing that claims that allowing gay and lesbian
couples to marry will lead to the “tragic deconstruction” of
The attorneys general defend state
marriage bans in a newly filed amicus
brief in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Sevcik v.
Sandoval, the appeal filed by eight plaintiff couples to a 2012
ruling upholding Nevada's gay marriage ban.
Two of the attorneys general, Utah's
Sean Reyes and Oklahoma's Scott Pruitt, are in the process of
appealing rulings which individually declared their state bans
unconstitutional. Both cases will be heard in the 10th
Circuit Court of Appeals.
The 11 top law officers argue that
allowing gay couples to marry will lead to a free-for-all, The
Salt Lake Tribune reported.
“If public affirmation of anyone and
everyone's personal love and commitment is the single purpose of
civil marriage, a limitless number of rights claims could be set up
that evacuate the term 'marriage' of any meaning.” Without
“natural limits” it “follows that any group of adults would
have an equal claim to marriage.”
Last week, Nevada Attorney General
Catherine Cortez Masto raised eyebrows when she filed a 55-page brief
that invoked incest and bigamy.
In a section titled “What marriage is
not,” Masto wrote that “marriage is not between more than two
people. In Nevada, bigamy is a category D felony.” and “Marriage
is not between close relatives. Incest is a category A felony.”
The day of Masto's filing, the 9th
Circuit released a ruling in a separate case that found it
unconstitutional to exclude jurors based on sexual orientation.
“Windsor,” Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote, “requires
The decision gave Masto pause and she
said in a statement that the state's arguments against marriage
equality were “no longer tenable.”
States that joined the amicus
brief include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana,
Nebraska, Oklahoma, Utah and South Carolina.