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Nevada AG Asks to Withdraw Brief Defending Marriage Ban

Jim Burroway

February 10th, 2014

Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto is asking the Ninth Circuit Court to allow her to withdraw a brief that had been filed on behalf of Gov. Brian Sandoval defending the state’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. In the statement, Cortez Masto cited last month’s ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court which held that discrimination based on sexual orientation warrented heightened scrutiny. That ruling in an unrelated case concerning jury selection had a huge impact on Nevada’s arguments:

“After thoughtful review and analysis, the State has determined that its arguments grounded upon equal protection and due process are no longer sustainable,” Cortez Masto said in Monday’s statement.

BuzzFeed has asked a spokeswoman for Sandoval for comment on Monday’s filing. The Associated Press reported, “Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval says he agrees with the move, saying it’s clear the state’s arguments are no longer defensible in court.”

Eight couples are suing the state of Nevada in Federal Court challenging the state’s marriage ban. A Federal Judge granted Gov. Sandoval’s motion to dismiss in 2012. Lambda Legal has taken the case to the Ninth Circuit on appeal.

This latest move follows the earlier decision by Carson City Clerk-Recorder Alan Glover to ask to withdraw his brief for the same reasons. With both defendants out of the picture, it leaves the Coalition for the Protection of Marriage as the sole defender of the ban. The Coalition was allowed to intervene by the U.S. District Court. But with the U.S. Supreme Court last summer turning back the Prop 8 challenge because outside intervening supporters lacked standing, it would seem that Nevada is on the cusp of letting Elvises marry gay couples in Vegas.

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Ben In Oakland
February 10th, 2014 | LINK

““After thoughtful review and analysis, the State has determined that its arguments grounded upon equal protection and due process are no longer sustainable,” Cortez Masto said in Monday’s statement.

The STATE’S arguments were about due process and equal protection? How, exaqctly?

BuzzFeed has asked a spokeswoman for Sandoval for comment on Monday’s filing. The Associated Press reported, “Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval says he agrees with the move, saying it’s clear the state’s arguments are no longer defensible in court.”

You didn’t need heightened scrutiny just to dismiss arguments about a non-factual, not rational basis.

consider my mind officially boggled.

jpeckjr
February 10th, 2014 | LINK

They both have to maintain the political illusion that they are not withdrawing because they have changed their views on marriage equality.

Paul Douglas
February 10th, 2014 | LINK

I doubt they changed their views on marriage equality. They are probably trying to avoid potential political fall-out down the road, so they are abandoning that aspect of God’s Own Party’s platform.

Lymis
February 11th, 2014 | LINK

I can’t find any clear reporting – are they dropping the case, or just the brief?

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