U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon struck down Nebraska’s same-sex marriage ban today, joining over 60 federal and state judges who have ruled in favor of marriage equality in the United States. Batallion, who cited the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause in his ruling, refused to stay his decision, stating that his injunction will take effect one week from today, meaning that gay couples will likely be able to begin marrying on March 9.
In November, seven couples teamed up to challenge Nebraska’s same-sex marriage ban, which was voted into the state’s constitution by an overwhelming majority in the 2000 election. One of the plaintiffs, Sally Waters, is battling stage four breast cancer and is seeking the legal protection a Nebraska-recognized marriage will provide for her children in the event of her death. Waters married her partner, Susan, in California in 2008.
Judge Bataillon had some scathing words for opponents of marriage equality, writing:
The State relies essentially on variously phrased arguments that reveal a clear preference for opposite-sex parenting and express an interest in promoting biological reproduction. These arguments are rooted in archaic and overbroad stereotypes about gender roles. Marriage is about more than procreation. The State essentially pays lip service to marriage as an institution conceived for the purpose of providing a stable family unit, but it ignores the damage done to children by denial of the right to marry to numerous same-sex households.
He also seems confident that the United States Supreme Court will rule in favor of marriage equality on a national level when it hears cases from the Sixth Circuit later this summer:
The Supreme Court will ultimately endorse, for one reason or another, the [pro-equality] results obtained in the Fourth, Seventh, Ninth and Tenth Circuit challenges to same-sex marriage bans.
On Friday, Sixth Circuit challengers from Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky — the only states where same-sex marriage bans have been upheld — filed briefs with SCOTUS, which agreed to hear their cases late last year.
In the meantime, gay Cornhuskers are readying their vows and preparing to become the 38th state where marriage equality is a reality.