The tsunami of same-sex marriage cases sweeping the country is seeing a new trend: consolidation of cases on appeal. The same-sex marriage cases working their way through the Seventh Circuit, challenging Indiana and Wisconsin laws, are no different.
Last week, the Seventh Circuit denied motions for en banc review, and later changed the hearing date from August 13 to August 26, reports The Associated Press. As we near the oral arguments date, let's take a closer look at the cases the Seventh Circuit will be reviewing.
Indiana Same-Sex Marriage Challenge
In Indiana, three cases challenged Indiana Code Section 31-11-1-1, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and voids same-sex marriages. The law was challenged as being facially unconstitutional and violating plaintiffs' Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process and equal protection of the laws. The 36 plaintiffs included same-sex couples trying to marry in Indiana, same-sex couples married outside of Indiana, but whose marriages were not recognized, and children of the above named couples.
On June 25, 2014, Judge Richard L. Young, of the Southern District of Indiana struck down the Indiana law finding it unconstitutional because it violated plaintiff's due process and equal protection rights. Days later, the Seventh Circuit granted a stay pending appeal.
Wisconsin Same-Sex Marriage Challenge
The challenge to the Wisconsin law was brought by four same-sex couples, some wishing to marry within the state, and the others wanting "recognition for their legal out-of-state marriages," says the ACLU of Indiana. The plaintiffs challenged two Wisconsin laws: the Wisconsin Constitution, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman; and Wis. Stat. § 765.30(1), which makes it a criminal offense, punishable with imprisonment up to nine months or a fine of $10,000, for Wisconsin residents to get married in another state, where it is prohibited in Wisconsin. On June 6, 2014, Judge Barbara Crabb struck down the amendment and laws on due process and equal protection grounds.
With oral arguments less than one month away, this set of cases promises to be some of the most-watched in the country. We will update you one the Seventh Circuit comes to a decision.
- ACLU of Wisconsin Challenges State Constitution and Marriage Laws (FindLaw's U.S. Seventh Circuit Blog)
- Same Sex Marriage, Asian Carp, Cold Beer and a Judge Posner Interview (FindLaw's U.S. Seventh Circuit Blog)
- En Banc Opposed in Gay Marriage Appeals; States Playing Odds? (FindLaw's U.S. Seventh Circuit Blog)
- Gay Marriage at the 6th Cir.: Countdown to Aug. 6 Oral Arguments (FindLaw's U.S. Sixth Circuit Blog)