Nevada Officials Won't Defend State's Gay Marriage Ban
Nevada's attorney general and governor said Monday that they won't defend the state's gay marriage ban when it goes before a federal appeals court, saying that a recent court decision makes the state's arguments supporting its constitutional amendment "no longer defensible."
Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, in a motion filed with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, said Nevada's legal arguments defending the voter-approved prohibition aren't viable after the court's recent ruling that potential jurors cannot be removed from a trial during jury selection solely because of 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," Masto said in a statement.
Nevada's move comes as the federal government and courts around the country in recent months have chipped away at laws the prohibit marriage and benefits for same-sex couples. In a one-month span from December to January, two federal judges struck down state bans on gay marriage for the same reason, concluding that they violate the U.S. Constitution's promise of equal protection under the law.
Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican seeking re-election this year, said he agreed with the Democratic attorney general's action.