Last month Nevada Attorney General Catherine Masto withdrew her defense, declaring that Ninth Circuit Court’s application of heightened scrutiny in an unrelated case means that Nevada’s ban is now indefensible.
UPDATE: Press release from Lambda Legal.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit today set April 9, 2014 for oral arguments in Sevcik v. Sandoval, Lambda Legal’s lawsuit challenging Nevada’s discriminatory marriage ban. Jon W. Davidson, Lambda Legal’s Legal Director and Eden/Rushing Chair issued the following statement: “This is great news for our couples who have been working so long to have their case heard. We’re very excited to make the case for equality at the Ninth Circuit.” Last month, Gov. Sandoval and Carson City Clerk-Recorder Alan Glover withdrew their arguments in support of the marriage ban after the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in SmithKline Beecham v. Abbott Laboratories that discriminatory classifications based upon sexual orientation must receive heightened scrutiny and should be presumed unconstitutional. The heightened scrutiny standard is much more difficult to meet and rendered the state of Nevada’s arguments in its original brief defending the marriage ban “no longer tenable in the Ninth Circuit,” as Nevada’s Attorney General conceded in a statement released last week. The withdrawal of the two government defendants leaves only the Coalition for the Protection of Marriage, which the U.S. District Court had allowed to intervene, defending the marriage ban.