Reagan appointed federal appeals judge: Gay marriage bans are 'a tradition of hate'

Wed. August 27, 2014 10:50 AM by Carlos Santoscoy

Chicago, IL - Arguments used by lawyers defending gay marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana received a cold shoulder on Tuesday from a 3-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.

Both states are defending marriage bans struck down by lower federal courts in June.

According to the AP, more than 200 people showed up to witness arguments in the legal challenges.

Judge Richard Posner, a Ronald Reagan appointee, scolded Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Timothy Samuelson's assertion that such bans were based on "tradition."

"It was tradition to not allow blacks and whites to marry – a tradition that got swept away," Posner said. Laws excluding gay couples from marriage, he said, are "a tradition of hate ...and savage discrimination."

He also asked Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fischer what benefits to society could possibly outweigh the damage the bans inflict on the children of gay and lesbian couples.

"All this is a reflection of biology," Fischer answered. "Men and women make babies, same-sex couples do not ...we have to have a mechanism to regulate that, and marriage is that mechanism."

Also considering the challenges were Judges Ann Claire Williams, who was appointed to the bench by Bill Clinton, and David Hamilton, who was appointed by President Barack Obama.

Panel members were kept under wraps until Tuesday. And when they were announced, marriage equality advocates cheered, with progressive blog declaring that supporters had "just won the lottery."

While rulings in two other appeals courts considering similar challenges have been split, all three Seventh Circuit judges appeared to express skepticism over arguments presented in support of the bans.

Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine