7th Circuit affirms freedom to marry in 4th federal appellate victory this summer
September 04, 2014
Today, September 4, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit ruled unanimously in favor of the freedom to marry, affirming that in Wisconsin and Indiana, banning same-sex couples from marriage is unconstitutional.
The ruling comes just over a week after the 7th Circuit Court heard oral arguments in four marriage cases from two different states - Wisconsin and Indiana. It becomes the fourth consecutive ruling at the federal appellate level, joining the 10th Circuit and 4th Circuit, which decided in favor of marriage earlier this summer.
The 7th Circuit's decision also follows 38 court victories for marriage since the United States Supreme Court struck down the core of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act in Windsor v. United States. Since then, only two judges - a federal judge in Louisiana and a judge in state court in Tennessee divorce court - have upheld marriage bans.
No immediate stay was issued in the ruling, so if no party seeks a stay, the mandate will issue in 21 days and same-sex couples will be free to marry in Indiana and Wisconsin.
Freedom to Marry's founder and president Evan Wolfson applauded the decisive win today. He said:
Today’s sharp and scathing ruling demolishes the arguments and unsubstantiated claims made by opponents of the freedom to marry, repeated in the outlier decision out of Louisiana yesterday, and affirms what nearly 40 other federal and state courts have found: the denial of the freedom to marry inflicts real harms and is constitutionally indefensible. Judge Posner's authoritative opinion points the way, and the Supreme Court should move swiftly now to end marriage discrimination nationwide, without prolonging the harms and indignity that too many couples continue to endure in too much of the country.
And click here to listen to audio from the oral argument, where Judges Posner, Williams, and Hamilton eviscerated arguments against marriage for same-sex couples.