Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval has asked a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on same sex marriage, the Las Vegas Journal Review.
Sandoval noted that the U.S. Supreme Court had previously turned down same sex couples’ efforts to challenge state bans on same sex marriage. In their 1971 ruling in Baker v. Nelson, the Supreme Court held that Minnesota’s prohibition of same sex marriage did not violate the U.S. Constitution.
“Based upon this precedent, there is no federal question presented in this case because the central question involved – the definition of marriage – is peculiarly and traditionally the right of states to define,” reads the response to the lawsuit, which was written by Wayne Howle, solicitor general in the state attorney general’s office.
Eight same sex couples filed a lawsuit against Nevada in April, alleging that the state’s ban on same sex marriage violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Nevada’s Protection of Marriage amendment, approved by 67 percent of voters in 2002, states that marriage is only between one man and one woman. The state provides gay and lesbian couples with nearly all of the state law rights and responsibilities afforded to same sex couples, but withholds the designation of marriage.
The lawsuit alleges that the marriage ban causes “serious and irreparable” harm to same sex couples and their children because it treats them like “second-class citizens who are undeserving of the legal sanction, respect, and support that different-sex spouses and their families enjoy.”
The same sex marriage ban violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because it discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation and sex, the lawsuit states.
Eric W. Dolan
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