Federal appeals court to hear Nevada same-sex marriage case

Supporters and opponents of Nevada’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage will have a combined 20 minutes to make their case before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals when the case is heard Sept. 8 in San Francisco.

The court has scheduled oral arguments in the case, Beverly Sevcik v. Brian Sandoval, on that day, along with two other same sex marriage cases out of Hawaii and Idaho.

Nevada’s ban on same-sex marriage is being challenged by the group Lambda Legal on behalf of eight same-sex couples who want to get married in Nevada.

The Coalition for the Protection of Marriage, which put a measure on the ballot more than a decade ago defining marriage as being between a man and a woman, is defending the ban. Nevada voters gave final approval to the ban in 2002.

In November 2012 Judge Robert C. Jones upheld Nevada’s prohibition on same-sex marriage, finding that the current definition does not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment.

That decision is on appeal by Lambda to the 9th circuit.

There is no indication yet when the court will rule on the challenge, but same-sex marriage supporters say a ruling invalidating the ban could lead almost immediately to marriages being performed in Nevada.

Gov. Brian Sandoval is no longer defending the state’s ban, and he has said he will abide by the decision of the court.

Contact Capital Bureau reporter Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3900. Follow him on Twitter @seanw801.