The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals struck down gay marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana on Thursday.
A three judge panel ruled unanimously in favor of same-sex couples just over a week after hearing oral arguments in the two different cases, Reuters reports.
"The discrimination against same-sex couples is irrational, and therefore unconstitutional even if the discrimination is not subjected to heightened scrutiny, which is why we can largely elide the more complex analysis found in more closely balanced equal-protection cases," wrote Judge Richard Posner in his ruling. Posner's ruling makes the Seventh Circuit the third appeals court to conclude that state prohibitions on gay marriage violate the Constitution's equal protection clause.
"Our pair of cases is rich in detail but ultimately straightforward to decide," continued Posner. "The challenged laws discriminate against a minority defined by an immutable characteristic, and the only rationale that the states put forth with any conviction — that same-sex couples and their children don’t need marriage because same-sex couples can’t produce children, intended or unintended — is so full of holes that it cannot be taken seriously."
The ruling comes one day after a federal judge upheld Louisiana's gay marriage ban, a decision that ran counter to 21 consecutive federal rulings against such prohibitions since the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013.
Read the full decision below: