Wolf v. Walker, No. 14-2526 (7th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
The Seventh Circuit affirmed district court decisions invalidating Indiana and Wisconsin laws that did not recognize the validity of same-sex marriages, whether contracted in those states or in states (or foreign countries) where they are lawful. The states gave no “reasonable basis” for forbidding same-sex marriage, but more than a reasonable basis was required because the challenged discrimination is “along suspect lines,” being against a minority and based on an immutable characteristic of the members of that minority, against an historical background of discrimination against the persons who have that characteristic. These circumstances create a presumption that the discrimination is a denial of the equal protection. The discrimination does not confer an important offsetting benefit on society as a whole and is not appropriate to its stated objectives. The court stated that: “Formally these cases are about discrimination against the small homosexual minority,” but at a deeper level, they are about the welfare of children. Children adopted by homosexual couples would be better off emotionally and economically if their adoptive parents were married. With respect to the states’ arguments about governmental interest in the welfare of children, the court noted that infertile heterosexual couples are allowed to marry.