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United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
August 26, 2014, Argued; September 4, 2014, Decided
Nos. 14-2386, No. 14-2526
[*653] Posner, Circuit Judge. Indiana and Wisconsin are among the shrinking majority of states that do not recognize the validity of same-sex marriages, whether contracted in these [**18] states or in states (or foreign countries) where they are lawful. The states have appealed from district court decisions invalidating the states' laws that ordain such refusal.
[*654] Formally these cases are about discrimination against the small homosexual minority in the United States. But at a deeper level, as we shall see, they are about the welfare of American children. The argument that the states press hardest in defense of their prohibition of same-sex marriage is that the only reason government encourages marriage is to induce heterosexuals to marry so that there will be fewer "accidental births," which when they occur outside of marriage often lead to abandonment of the child to the mother (unaided by the father) or to foster care. Overlooked by this argument is that many of those abandoned children are adopted by homosexual couples, and those children would be better off both emotionally and economically if their adoptive parents were married.
We are mindful of the Supreme Court's insistence that "whether embodied in the Fourteenth Amendment or inferred from the Fifth, equal protection is not a license for courts to judge the wisdom, fairness, or logic of legislative choices. In areas of social and [**19] economic policy, a statutory classification that neither proceeds along suspect lines nor infringes fundamental constitutional rights must be upheld against equal protection challenge if there is any reasonably conceivable state of facts that could provide a rational basis for the classification." FCC v. Beach Communications, Inc., 508 U.S. 307, 313, 113 S. Ct. 2096, 124 L. Ed. 2d 211 (1993) (emphasis added). The phrase we've italicized is the exception applicable to this pair of cases.
We hasten to add that even when the group discriminated against is not a "suspect class," courts examine, and sometimes reject, the rationale offered by government for the challenged discrimination. See, e.g., Village of Willowbrook v. Olech, 528 U.S. 562, 120 S. Ct. 1073, 145 L. Ed. 2d 1060 (2000) (per curiam); City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center, 473 U.S. 432, 448-50, 105 S. Ct. 3249, 87 L. Ed. 2d 313 (1985). In Vance v. Bradley, 440 U.S. 93, 111, 99 S. Ct. 939, 59 L. Ed. 2d 171 (1979), an illustrative case in which the Supreme Court accepted the government's rationale for discriminating on the basis of age, the majority opinion devoted 17 pages to analyzing whether Congress had had a "reasonable basis" for the challenged discrimination (requiring foreign service officers but not ordinary civil servants to retire at the age of 60), before concluding that it did.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
766 F.3d 648 *; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 17294 **
MARILYN RAE BASKIN, et al., Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. PENNY BOGAN, et al., Defendants-Appellants.VIRGINIA WOLF, et al., Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. SCOTT WALKER, et al., Defendants-Appellants.
Subsequent History: US Supreme Court certiorari denied by Bogan v. Baskin, 135 S. Ct. 316, 190 L. Ed. 2d 142, 2014 U.S. LEXIS 5797 (U.S., 2014)
US Supreme Court certiorari denied by Walker v. Wolf, 135 S. Ct. 316, 190 L. Ed. 2d 142, 2014 U.S. LEXIS 6655 (U.S., 2014)
Prior History: [**1] Appeals from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Nos. 1:14-cv-00355-RLY-TAB, 1:14-cv-00404-RLY-TAB, 1:14-cv-00406-RLY-MJD — Richard L. Young, Chief Judge.
Baskin v. Bogan, 12 F. Supp. 3d 1144, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86114 (S.D. Ind., 2014)Wolf v. Walker, 986 F. Supp. 2d 982, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77125 (W.D. Wis., 2014)
Disposition: Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. No. 3:14-cv-00064-bbc — Barbara B. Crabb, Judge.
marriage, same-sex, couples, homosexuals, marry, benefits, heterosexual, spouse, cases, sex, infertile, sexual orientation, fertile, license, births, invalidated, unmarried, ban, domestic partnership, discriminated, biological, marital, percent, rights, married couple, first cousin, obligations, accidental, contracted, Psychological
Constitutional Law, Equal Protection, Nature & Scope of Protection, Gender & Sex, Family Law, Marriage, Types of Marriages, Same Sex Marriages, Governments, Courts, Judicial Precedent