CHICAGO — A U.S. appeals court in Chicago has ruled that same-sex marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana are unconstitutional.
Thursday’s decision by a three-judge panel at the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals bumps the number of states where same-sex marriage will be legal from 19 to 21. The decision was unanimous.
The Wisconsin and Indiana cases shifted to Chicago after their attorneys general appealed separate lower court rulings in June tossing the bans. The 7th Circuit stayed those rulings pending its own decision.
In Indiana, U.S. District Judge Richard Young issued a ruling on several challenges to the state’s ban, but dismissed one suit filed by couples in Southern Indiana. Following Young’s ruling, several same-sex couples were issued marriage licenses before the stay was issued.
During oral arguments in August, one judge appointed by a Republican likened same-sex marriage bans to laws once barring interracial marriage. Judge Richard Posner said they derived from “hate … and savage discrimination” of gays.
The states argued the prohibitions helped foster a centuries-old tradition.