An appeal to a ruling upholding
Nevada's ban on gay marriage will be expedited, the 9th
Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco announced Wednesday.
The announcement comes two days after
Nevada filed a motion to withdraw its support for the state's ban on
The court on Wednesday granted Nevada's
motion filed by Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and agreed to
expedite the case.
In her motion, Masto said that the
state's legal arguments “grounded upon equal protection and due
process are no longer sustainable” in light of a recent
determination by the court. Republican Governor Brian Sandoval said
that he agreed with Masto's determination.
In that case, handed down earlier this
month, the court found it unconstitutional to exclude jurors based on
Writing for the 3-member panel, Judge
Stephen Reinhardt said: “Windsor requires that when state
action discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation, we must
examine its actual purposes and carefully consider the resulting
inequality to ensure that our most fundamental institutions neither
send nor reinforce messages of stigma or second-class status. In
short, Windsor requires heightened scrutiny.”
Eight plaintiff couples challenged the
state's 2002 voter-approved constitutional amendment limiting
marriage to heterosexual couples. A federal judge in Reno upheld the
state's ban in 2012 and plaintiffs appealed.
Tara Borelli, a Lambda Legal attorney
representing the plaintiffs, told
the AP that the court's decision means oral arguments could be
heard as early as this spring.
“The wheels of justice are now on a
much faster track,” Borelli said.
The 10th Circuit Court of
Appeals in Denver has also agreed to fast-track two similar
challenges to bans in Utah and Oklahoma.