Democratic Nevada Attorney General Catherine Masto has filed a brief to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in which she compares same-sex marriage to bigamy and incest. Chris Johnson writes at the Washington Blade:
Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, took Masto to task for making an implicit comparison between same-sex marriage and bigamy or incest while saying she makes no solid argument against allowing gay nuptials in Nevada. “Marriage is not ‘defined’ by who is denied it, and nothing in the brief explains why loving and committed couples of the same sex should be denied the legal commitment and bundle of obligations and protections that are available to different-sex couples,” Wolfson said. “To invoke bigamy and incest, as the attorney general does — at least she stopped short of bestiality! — doesn’t supply an explanation; it makes clear that the state has nothing to offer to justify the discrimination against same-sex couples in Nevada. But Wolfson said he concurs with another argument within the attorney general’s brief: domestic partnerships, which are permitted under Nevada law, aren’t equivalent to and don’t provide a substitute for marriage.
The brief was filed in Lambda Legal’s Sevcik v. Sandoval, the hopes for which got much brighter earlier this week when the Ninth Circuit Court invoked heightened scrutiny in a ruling that barred the peremptory dismissal of gay jurors. Masto’s brief urges that the Court not consider heightened scrutiny in Lambda Legal’s case.
GetEQUAL Nevada organizer Derek Washington has issued a response to Masto’s brief.
I count Attorney General Cortez Masto as one of my very first mentors, having met her at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver. I am deeply disappointed that she would take the positions she has in her vigorous defense of a law that I find discriminatory and against the ideals of equality this great country was founded on. For the Attorney General to equate marriage equality with bigamy and incest is not only jaw dropping, but it is also a personal affront from someone I thought understood that we, LGBTQ Nevadans, are just the same as all other Nevadans. We work hard, send our children to school and contribute to the health of our communities. To be lumped in with bigamists and sexual criminals by a friend is, to say the very least, heartbreaking.