On Monday, the Ninth Circuit Court of
Appeals in San Francisco will hear cases challenging gay marriage
bans in Hawaii, Nevada and Idaho.
Each case is unique and at least one
could result in another state joining the ranks of marriage equality
states before the Supreme Court intervenes.
Plaintiffs challenging Nevada's ban are
looking to overturn a lower court's 2012 ruling upholding the state's
ban. Idaho Governor Butch Otter is seeking to reverse a federal
judge's ruling striking down Idaho's ban.
And while lawmakers in Hawaii last year
legalized marriage for gay couples, lawyers representing the
Christian conservative Hawaii Family Forum are looking to keep their
case alive in hopes of reaching the Supreme Court.
Marriage equality supporters got a
boost last week when the Ninth Circuit announced the three-judge
panel which will review the cases.
Judges Stephen Reinhardt, Ronald M.
Gould and Marsha S. Berzon have previously supported heightened
scrutiny for sexual orientation discrimination, said Dr.
Gregory Herek, a social science researcher at the University of
California, Davis and an authority on homophobia.
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 found it discriminatory to
reject someone from a jury pool because he or she is gay
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, a
Republican, withdrew the state's defense in the case less than a
month after the court's gay juror ruling, saying it had become clear
that the case “is no longer defensible in court.”
withdraws defense of gay marriage ban that invoked bigamy, incest.)
That means that Nevada officials would
likely implement a ruling striking down the state's ban rather than
fight it and become the 20th state, in addition to the
District of Columbia, to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry.