January 27, 2014
One of the people defending Nevada’s same-sex marriage ban, Carson City Clerk Alan Glover, has filed a letter with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to withdraw his brief in defense of the law. The filing notes that he’s no longer opposed to the same-sex couples’ position in the case. He’s intending to file a notice of “non-opposition” with the appeals court.
According to his letter, the change in position is based on the Ninth Circuit’s recently-decided case, SmithKline Beecham v. Abbott Laboratories, in which the court held that a heightened form of judicial scrutiny applies to cases in which same-sex couples allege discrimination.
Because the court now considers sexual orientation to be a “quasi-suspect” classification warranting more judicial scrutiny, the letter suggests, the clerk is less concerned about the broad reach of any eventual decision: it would be tied to sexual orientation claims and wouldn’t reach polygamy claims.
The Nevada ban is still being defended by Governor Sandoval, through the state attorney general’s office, along with the Coalition for the Protection of Marriage. The Coalition is the group who put Nevada’s ban on the ballot. Late last week, Nevada’s attorney general, Katherine Cortez Masto, announced that she would be reviewing her arguments in the Sevcik case based on the new standard of review. Her announcement noted that she would be conferring with the governor this week on the issue.
Thanks to Kathleen Perrin for this filing
For more information on Sevcik v. Sandoval from The Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse, click here.
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