Nevada is the latest state in which the ban on same-sex marriage may be in legal trouble, and it happened in a rather oblique way. The ban had been challenged in court by eight same–sex couples, four of whom had been denied marriage licenses in Nevada and four of whom had been married in other states and were demanding that Nevada recognize their marriages. The case is Sevcik v. Sandoval and the couples lost in the District Court but appealed to the Ninth Circuit court of Appeals.
Nevada’s attorney general Catherine Cortez Masto had filed a brief last Tuesday defending the ban. But also last Tuesday, the Ninth Circuit, in a ruling that did not directly involve same-sex marriage, said that the language and reasoning of the US Supreme Court ruling last summer in United States v. Windsor implied that there was a new standard of review in cases involving sexual orientation, based on the court’s interpretation of the due process and equal protection clauses of the US Constitution, and that as a result it is now unconstitutional to exclude individuals from serving on juries because of their sexual orientation.
As a result, last Friday, just three days after filing her brief, Masto said that she may have to withdraw her brief because the arguments she was making may no longer be tenable in the light of the Ninth Circuit’s reasoning..
Lyle Denniston has more.