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Breaking: Judge Rules State Has Right To Limit Marriage To Straight Couples

by David Badash on November 29, 2012

in Legal Issues,Marriage,News,Politics

Post image for Breaking: Judge Rules State Has Right To Limit Marriage To Straight Couples

Rules Government Has Interest In Keeping Marriage Between Heterosexual Couples

A federal judge in Nevada has ruled against a same-sex couple’s attempt to win marriage equality, claiming that the state of Nevada does have a legitimate interest in reserving marriage to heterosexual couples. The couple stated denying them the institution of marriage violated their equal protection rights.

Judge Robert Clive Jones, 65, appointed by George W. Bush, is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

In his decision, below, Judge Jones claims that in decisions like Romer, where animus was at the center of the state’s decision to deny marriage to same-sex couples, the law can overturn that attempt.

But in this case, Sevcik v. Sandoval, the judge explained his refusal to rule in favor of the plaintiffs:

Because the maintenance of the traditional institution of civil marriage as between one man and one woman is a legitimate state interest, because the exclusion of same-sex couples from the institution of civil marriage is rationally related to furthering that interest, and because the challenged laws neither withdraw any existing rights nor effect a broad change in the legal status or protections of homosexuals based upon pure animus, the State is entitled to summary judgment.

Overall, the judge’s ruling is clearly filled with religious-themed beliefs not based in the law, or equality, but in the Bible.

Judge Jones noted:

The conceivable benefits to society from maintaining a distinction between traditional marriage and same-sex domestic partnerships provide a rational basis for the State of Nevada to maintain the distinction, even if one result of the distinction is the stigmatization of same-sex relationships or if bias was one motivating factor.


Because the family is the basic societal unit, the State could have validly reasoned that the consequences of altering the traditional definition of civil marriage could be severe.


[T]here are additional reasons to promote the traditional institution of marriage apart from mere moral disapproval of homosexual behavior, and these reasons provide a rational basis for distinguishing between opposite-sex and same-sex couples in the context of civil marriage. Human beings are created through the conjugation of one man and one woman. The percentage of human beings conceived through non-traditional methods is minuscule, and adoption, the form of child-rearing in which same-sex couples may typically participate together, is not an alternative means of creating children, but rather a social backstop for when traditional biological families fail. The perpetuation of the human race depends upon traditional procreation between men and women. The institution developed in our society, its predecessor societies, and by nearly all societies on Earth throughout history to solidify, standardize, and legalize the relationship between a man, a woman, and their offspring, is civil marriage between one man and one woman.


The State has not crossed the constitutional line by maintaining minor differences in civil rights and responsibilities that are not themselves fundamental rights comprising the constitutional component of the right to marriage, or by reserving the label of “marriage” for one-man–one-woman couples in a culturally and historically accurate way.

Noting the case “will likely be appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals,” Scottie Thomaston at Prop 8 Trial Tracker adds:

The judge’s ruling against the plaintiffs was anticipated after he expressed skepticism about their case at the initial hearing. As we reported:

[]Judge Jones seemed skeptical in general about allowing any such expert testimony, saying that to do so would require him to sit “as a legislature” (14). ”This area you’re talking about,” he said, “is so broad it’s across the entire United States. You’re asking them to summarize thousands of incidences.” Attorneys, he said, should tell courts what the law is, and he specifically questioned the course of action taken by Judge Vaughn Walker in the Prop 8 case in California with regard to allowing expert opinion on the changing shape of marriage in the United States and the difficulties faced by LGBT individuals.An attorney for the state of Nevada raised the point that there are currently several petitions pending with the Supreme Court on the issue of marriage equality and the Defense of Marriage Act, to which Judge Jones responded, “It makes sense to get this decided and off with the circus train.” In particular, Judge Jones noted that the Ninth Circuit’s decision in the Prop 8 case, in which it singled out the fact that California had extended and then withdrawn equal marriage rights from gay and lesbian couples, differentiated that case from Sevcik, since Nevada had never extended such rights.

2:12-cv-00578 #102

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david0296 November 29, 2012 at 9:42 pm

The ruling is laughable. People do not have to marry in order to procreate; and procreation has never been a requirement in order to get married.

"Because the maintenance of the traditional institution of civil marriage as between one man and one woman is a legitimate state interest…"

That statement is a lie. Affording gay couples the right to marry, does NOT impact man/woman marriages at all. "Traditional" marriage does not need to be protected from gay people, because gay people are not a threat to it.

Scott_Rose November 29, 2012 at 10:21 pm

It is clear from this bigot judge's decision that the gay plaintiffs ARE being denied equal protection under the law, and that the judge was guided by his gay-bashing bigotry, not by the Constitution.

Coxhere November 29, 2012 at 10:35 pm

Well, we see that the 9th Circuit has more of the same kind of work ahead of them.

alysbcohen November 29, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Anyone think it's almost funny that that is the only state with any legalized prostitution? So prostitution is a-okay in some areas, but not gay marriage.

I wonder how often that judge visits the Mustang Ranch. (That's the biggest whorehouse in Nevada…and it's 100% legal.)

Diogenes_Arktos November 30, 2012 at 6:24 am

It is strange to hear an LDS judge argue so decisively from history, given the LDS original stance on polygamy.

@alysbcohen: ROFLMAO

Huntercgo November 30, 2012 at 7:42 am

The opinion is junk. The 9th Circuit is going to eat this guy alive.

Victor_in_PA November 30, 2012 at 9:40 am

"Human beings are created through the conjugation of one man and one woman. "

And this is his reasoning? And he's a judge? He's basically saying that Nevada can discriminate because Nevada had an interest in discriminating because people get married to produce children and that's the way it's always been. What a thin reasoning attempt at siding with bigotry! This same argument has been tried over and over again. Marriage does NOT produce children, sex does. And if we're going to deny people marriage because they can't have children, then no one over child bearing age would be able to get married nor people who are physically disabled. That's a bunch of crap! And, if that's the case, then let's remove all tax and legal benefits to people who get married and DON'T have children and give the benefits to people who DO have children together regardless whether or not they are married.

The problem is that while DOMA stands, there is a precedent for unequal treatment with violates the Constitution. Dump DOMA!

Mahnahvu December 1, 2012 at 1:15 am

This is the kind of thing we get with "rational" review.

revbh December 1, 2012 at 1:29 am

Where did this guy go to law school? He as about as much reasoning ability as a small mushroom.

I used to get papers like this from my dumber law students……the ones who flunked out.

InvokeRights December 1, 2012 at 4:47 am

So apparently this idiot thinks that gay people don't spend money in that state. Now what would happen if no gay people went to Las Vegas? Or Reno?

How about people that support equality and them not going to that state? I'm pretty sure he'd be eaten alive and kicked out.

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