The fate of a federal judge's ruling in Nevada last week against same-sex marriage depends on whether the U.S. Supreme Court decides to review such marriages.
An array of cases involving same-sex marriage is set to be considered by the justices behind closed doors Friday. If the U.S. Supreme Court accepts review of the federal Defense of Marriage Act or California's Proposition 8 an eventual decision would affect how the lower courts rule on same sex marriage.
Last week in Nevada, U.S. District Judge Robert Jones, a Mormon, said the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment does not bar a state from refusing to recognize same-sex marriage.
"This case arises out of the refusal of the state of Nevada to permit same-sex couples to enter into civil marriages, as well as its refusal to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states as 'marriages' under Nevada law," the judge said. "The question before the court is not the wisdom of providing for or recognizing same-sex marriages as a matter of policy but whether the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits the people of ... Nevada from maintaining statutes that reserve the institution of civil marriage to one-man-one-woman relationships or from amending their state constitution to prohibit the state from recognizing marriages formed in other states as 'marriages' under Nevada law if those marriages do not conform to Nevada's one-man-one-woman civil marriage institution."
The judge said he rules "it does not. To the extent the present challenge is not precluded by U.S. Supreme Court precedent, (state official) defendants are entitled to summary judgment."
The case was brought by eight same-sex couples who wanted to marry in Nevada or have the state recognize their marriages in other states, citing the equal protection clause.
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