Court rules against gay marriage bans in Wisconsin, Indiana

A U.S. appeals court in Chicago has ruled that gay marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana are unconstitutional.

Thursday’s decision by a three-judge panel at the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals bumps the number of states where gay marriage will be legal from 19 to 21. The decision was unanimous.

The Wisconsin and Indiana cases shifted to Chicago after their attorneys general appealed separate lower court rulings in June tossing the bans. The 7th Circuit stayed those rulings pending its own decision.

During oral arguments in August, one judge appointed by a Republican likened same-sex marriage bans to laws once barring interracial marriage. Judge Richard Posner said they derived from “hate … and savage discrimination” of gays.

The states argued the prohibitions helped foster a centuries-old tradition.

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin issued the following statement after the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals made its decision:

“Today’s decision is yet another affirmation that discrimination doesn’t just violate our Wisconsin values – it violates our Constitution and marriage equality will be the law of the land in our state. It is simply wrong for Governor Walker and Attorney General Van Hollen to continue to defend discrimination and with the unanimous rejection of their position by another federal court, it is long past time for them to stop standing in the way of freedom, fairness and equality for all Wisconsinites. Love is love, family is family, and discriminating against anyone’s love, against anyone’s family, is not only wrong, it is unconstitutional.  It is now time for us to keep our promise to pass on to the next generation a Wisconsin that is more equal, not less equal.”

Representative Jill Billings also issued a statement on the ruling:

“I am pleased that once again the courts have ruled for marriage equality for all Wisconsinites.  We all know it’s not fair to allow rights to some and deny rights to others—and our court system continues to affirm this.”

 “The time has come for Wisconsin to join 22 other states; including our neighbors Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois that have affirmed marriage for all.  Wisconsin will lose people, a valuable workforce, and resources if we don’t stop needless discrimination. The time has come for Wisconsin to ensure freedom and liberty to all.”

Representative Ron Kind also issued a statement on the ruling:

“This decision marks another step toward full equality for all Wisconsinites. I applaud the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals for ruling on the side of equal rights. Clearly, momentum is on the side of marriage equality.

The government shouldn’t stand in the way of two people who want to make a lifetime commitment to one another.”