A federal appeals court on Thursday struck down gay marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago is the first federal appeals court since the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) last year to unanimously strike down a state ban.

The 3-judge panel heard arguments in the cases just last week.

Lawyers representing Wisconsin and Indiana are defending restrictive marriage bans struck down by lower federal courts in June.

Judge Richard Posner, a Ronald Reagan appointee, who wrote the ruling, poured water on the states' main argument that “the only reason government encourages marriage is to induce heterosexuals to marry so that there will be fewer 'accidental births.'”

“Overlooked by this argument,” Posner wrote, “is that many of those abandoned children are adopted by homosexual couples, and those children would be better off both emotionally and economically if their adoptive parents were married.”

“[T]he governments of Indiana and Wisconsin have given us no reason to think they have a 'reasonable basis' for forbidding same-sex marriage. And more than a reasonable basis is required because this is a case in which the challenged discrimination is … 'along suspect lines.'”

Posner also chided Wisconsin, saying that “one wouldn't know, reading Wisconsin's brief, that there is or ever has been discrimination against homosexuals anywhere in the United States.”

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, applauded the ruling, comparing it against a federal judge's ruling upholding Louisiana's ban.

(Related: Federal judge upholds Louisiana's gay marriage ban; says it's “anchored to Democratic process.”)

“Today’s sharp and scathing ruling demolishes the arguments and unsubstantiated claims made by opponents of the freedom to marry, repeated in the outlier decision out of Louisiana yesterday, and affirms what nearly 40 other federal and state courts have found: the denial of the freedom to marry inflicts real harms and is constitutionally indefensible,” Wolfson said. “Judge Posner's authoritative opinion points the way, and the Supreme Court should move swiftly now to end marriage discrimination nationwide, without prolonging the harms and indignity that too many couples continue to endure in too much of the country.”

(Thanks to Equality Case Files for providing briefs.)