State of Nevada no longer supports same-sex marriage ban

Feb. 10, 2014 at 8:45 PM
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CARSON CITY, Nev., Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Nevada's attorney general Monday filed a motion with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to withdraw its brief supporting the state's same-sex marriage ban.

The move means the Silver State will no longer argue to uphold the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage passed by voters in 2002.

"The decision in SmithKline Beecham vs. Abbott Laboratories ... is being brought to the court's attention ... because it was issued the same day that the state was required to file its answering brief, thus not affording the state an opportunity to analyze its legal application," Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto said in a statement.

"When the federal District Court decided this case in November 2012, the law regarding treatment of same-sex couples under traditional marriage laws was uncertain. But the legal landscape has since changed. Windsor vs. United States, decided in June 2013, has been interpreted by the 9th Circuit's decision in SmithKline to require heightened scrutiny to classifications based on sexual orientation. The decision in SmithKline is controlling and sets a new standard of review for cases in the 9th Circuit."

The 9th Circuit's SmithKline decision bars lawyers from discriminating against potential jurors because of their sexual orientation.

"After thoughtful review and analysis, the state has determined that its arguments grounded upon equal protection and due process are no longer sustainable," Cortez Masto said.

State legislators last year set in motion a repeal of the ban. If the Assembly passes Senate Joint Resolution 13 next year, the repeal would go to a voter referendum in 2016.

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