The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has
announced the 3 judge panel which will review cases challenging gay
marriages bans in Nevada, Idaho and Hawaii.
The San Francisco-based court will hear
the cases on Monday.
The panel consists of Judges Stephen
Reinhardt, Ronald M. Gould and Marsha S. Berzon. The court assigns
judges to cases randomly.
The panel bodes well for plaintiffs and
marriage equality supporters.
“All judges on 9th Circ
panel for ID HI & NV marriage cases have supported heightened
scrutiny for sexual orientation discrimination,” tweeted
Dr. Gregory Herek, a social science researcher at the University
of California, Davis and an authority on homophobia.
Equality Case Files explained in a
series of tweets that Reinhardt wrote the majority in the case
that toppled California's gay marriage ban, Proposition 8, and he was
joined by Berzon in a case that held sexual orientation must
withstand heightened scrutiny (SmithKline).
Writing for the 3-member panel, Judge
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.”
In Witt v. Air Force, Gould
wrote the majority opinion which upheld an order allowing U.S. Air
Force Major Margaret Witt, a flight nurse, to become the first openly
gay person to return to the military after being discharged for
violating “Don't Ask, Don't Tell.”