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Appeals court rules against same-sex marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin

Same-sex marriage supporters demonstrate in front of the Supreme Court on March 27, 2013 in Washington, DC.
Same-sex marriage supporters demonstrate in front of the Supreme Court on March 27, 2013 in Washington, DC.
(Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

Same-sex marriage is now legal in 21 states. In a unanimous decision, a U.S. appeals court ruled Thursday that the gay marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana violate the U.S. Constitution. The courtroom victory comes a day after a federal judge upheld a state marriage ban in Louisiana and sends momentum back on the side of same-sex marriage advocates.

The three-judge panel of the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals all agreed in a 40-page ruling that both states failed to give adequate reasons as to why bans in both states should be upheld. The ruling states, “The only rationale that the states put forth with any conviction – that same-sex couples and their children don’t need marriage because same-sex couples can’t produce children, intended or unintended – is so full of holes that it cannot be taken seriously.”

It only took nine days for the court to come up with a decision after oral arguments were made. The ruling saves the hundreds of same-sex marriages that took play between state bans being struck down and the appeals process. Those marriages could’ve been in jeopardy if the court decided to restore the bans.

In the ruling, the court also stated that same-sex couples deserved the opportunity to demonstrate how much of a value they are within the aspect of family and noted homosexuals as one of the most “stigmatized, misunderstood, and discriminated-against minorities in the history of the world.”

“Not that allowing same-sex marriage will change in the short run the negative views that many Americans hold on same-sex marriage,” the ruling continued. “But it will enhance the status of these marriages in the eyes of other Americans, and in the long run it may convert some of the opponents of such marriage by demonstrating that homosexual married couples are in essential respects, notably in the care of their adopted children, like other married couples.”

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says he will appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, but there is no guarantee that the court will take on the case. The high court already has appeals court decisions striking down bans in the states of Utah, Oklahoma, and Virginia pending to go before the court in its upcoming 2014 term.