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14-2386 #212

14-2386 #212

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Published by Equality Case Files
Doc 212 - OPINION
Doc 212 - OPINION

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Published by: Equality Case Files on Sep 04, 2014
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09/08/2014

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In the
United States Court of Appeals
For the Seventh Circuit
____________________ Nos. 14-2386 to 14-2388 M
ARILYN
R
AE
B
ASKIN
 ,
 
et al.
 ,
Plaintiffs-Appellees
 ,
v.
 P
ENNY
B
OGAN
 ,
 
et al.
 ,
Defendants-Appellants
. ____________________
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
.
____________________ No. 14-2526 V
IRGINIA
W
OLF
 ,
 
et al.
 ,
Plaintiffs-Appellees
 ,
v.
 S
COTT
W
ALKER
 ,
 
et al.
 ,
Defendants-Appellants
. ____________________
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. No. 3:14-cv-00064-bbc —
Barbara B. Crabb
 ,
 Judge
.
______________________
Case: 14-2386 Document: 212 Filed: 09/04/2014 Pages: 40
 
2 Nos. 14-2386 to 14-2388, 14-2526 A
RGUED
A
UGUST
26,
 
2014
 
 
D
ECIDED
S
EPTEMBER
4,
 
2014 ____________________ Before P
OSNER
 , W
ILLIAMS
 , and H
AMILTON
 ,
Circuit Judges
. P
OSNER
 ,
Circuit Judge
. Indiana and Wisconsin are among the shrinking majority of states that do not recognize the va-lidity of same-sex marriages, whether contracted in these states or in states (or foreign countries) where they are law-ful. The states have appealed from district court decisions invalidating the states’ laws that ordain such refusal. 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 hard-est 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 mar-riage 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 in-ferred 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 economic policy, a statutory classification that neither proceeds
along suspect lines
 nor in-fringes fundamental constitutional rights must be upheld
Case: 14-2386 Document: 212 Filed: 09/04/2014 Pages: 40
 
Nos. 14-2386 to 14-2388, 14-2526 3 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 (1993) (emphasis added). The phrase we’ve ital-icized is the exception applicable to this pair of cases. We hasten to add that even when the group discriminat-ed 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 (2000) (per curiam);
City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center
 , 473 U.S. 432, 448–50 (1985). In
Vance v. Bradley
 , 440 U.S. 93, 111 (1979), an illustrative case in which the Supreme Court accepted the government’s rationale for discriminating on the basis of age, the majority opinion de-voted 17 pages to analyzing whether Congress had had a “reasonable basis” for the challenged discrimination (requir-ing foreign service officers but not ordinary civil servants to retire at the age of 60), before concluding that it did. We’ll see that the governments of Indiana and Wisconsin have given us no reason to think they have a “reasonable ba-sis” for forbidding same-sex marriage. And more than a rea-sonable basis is required because this is a case in which the challenged discrimination is, in the formula from the
Beach
 case, “along suspect lines.” Discrimination by a state or the federal government against a minority, when based on an immutable characteristic of the members of that minority (most familiarly skin color and gender), and occurring against an historical background of discrimination against the persons who have that characteristic, makes the discrim-inatory law or policy constitutionally suspect. See, e.g.,
Bow-en v. Gilliard
 , 483 U.S. 587, 602–03 (1987);
Regents of University
Case: 14-2386 Document: 212 Filed: 09/04/2014 Pages: 40

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Lew Alessio added this note
Bravo! congratulations, Wisconsin and Indiana! What a brilliant, forthright, and unflinching decision.
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