Politics

Nebraska Judge Strikes Down Same-Sex Marriage Ban

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

Today a federal judge struck down Nebraska’s ban on same-sex marriage.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon issued an injunction in a case brought by seven same-sex couples against the state. He called Nebraska’s ban on same-sex marriage an “unabashedly gender-specific infringement of the equal rights of its citizens.”

Bataillon’s decision will take effect on March 9, meaning same-sex couples in Nebraska could legally get married starting next Monday.

State officials have appealed Bataillon’s ruling to the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

"The definition of marriage is an issue for the people of Nebraska," Gov. Pete Ricketts said in a statement, "and an activist judge should not substitute his personal political preferences for the will of the people."

In 2000, Nebraska voters decided to define marriage as only between one man and one woman. The state does not recognize civil unions or domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.

"Today is a day for celebration," Danielle Conrad, executive director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska, told Reuters. "The love and commitment our clients share will finally be entitled to equality and respect in the eyes of the law."

The U.S. Supreme Court is taking on the same-sex marriage ban in several states, and a ruling on the issue is expected in June. 

"It is time for the U.S. Supreme Court to bring the country to national resolution and end marriage discrimination for all Americans," Evan Wolfson, the president of Freedom to Marry, said in a statement.

Source: Reuters / Image via Jose Antonio Navas/Flickr