7th Circuit Court Of Appeals Hears Marriage Equality Cases

BTL Staff

CHICAGO - August 26th marked the date for the 7th Circuit Court to hear testimony from four consolidated cases from Indiana and Wisconsin. The states filed separate appeals looking to reinstate bans on same-sex marriages that were ruled unconstitutional in June. Federal judges overturned the bans, however both rulings were put on hold pending appeal.

The decision made by the 7th Circuit could affect hundreds of couples who were married after the states bans were overturned. A voter-approved constitutional amendment bans gay marriage in Wisconsin and state law prohibits the unions in Indiana. Neither state recognizes marriages performed in other states.

Judge Richard Posner, a Reagan appointee, Judge Ann Claire Williams, a Clinton appointee and Judge David Hamilton, an Obama appointee, heard the cases. The ACLU and Lambda Legal represented the LGBT couples seeking recognition.

Posner took no time in questioning the state attorney from Indiana as to why children of same-sex married couples should not be allowed to have legally married parents, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Posner's questions came with heavy criticism, asking the attorney to think back to his childhood and what it would be like if his parents weren't permitted to legally confirm their devotion and love, putting emphasis on the experience of the child and how "being different" from other classmates could effect the student.

"Wouldn't the children want their parents to be married?" Posner asked, taking note of the thousands of youth in the Indiana foster care system. "What do you think is psychologically better for the child?"

The state argued that it is procreation that needs to be upheld with the institution of marriage. And that biology determines the success of the married household.

"Men and women make babies and there has to be a social mechanism to deal with that," Thomas M. Fisher said when questioned by the judges, Chicago Tribune reports.

Wisconsin's Assistant Attorney General Timothy C. Samuelson defended the state's ban using the term "tradition" stating that tradition is based on experience.

It's unclear as to when the court will make its decision.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb struck down Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage on June 6. More than 500 couples were married before Crabb placed a hold on her ruling later that week pending Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen's appeal.

Later in the month on June 25, U.S. District Judge Richard Young threw out Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage. Two days later the 7th Circuit stayed his decision but not before hundreds of couples were married under state law. Both cases were consolidated in July.

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