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An anti-gay marriage group defending Nevada's ban same-sex marriage has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case directly from the federal district court in Reno without waiting for a ruling on the case by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Last week, Chief Judge Robert C. Jones, of the U.S. District Court in Nevada, rejected the lawsuit brought by Lambda Legal on behalf of eight gay couples challenging the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
In its suit, Lamba Legal charged that Nevada's ban on same-sex marriage violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, and relegates same-sex couples "to only a second-class status."
Jones, a George W. Bush appointee who is Mormon, ruled that "homosexual persons may marry in Nevada, but like heterosexual persons, they may not marry members of the same sex," adding, "the perpetuation of the human race depends upon traditional procreation between men and women."
Lambda Legal has since appealed to the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, but the "Coalition for the Protection of Marriage," a Boise, Idaho-based group that opposes same-sex marriage and was involved in the Nevada case, petitioned the Supreme Court on Wednesday to take the case before it can be considered by the federal appeals court.
In its 127-page filing, the coalition called the Nevada case the clearest among several gay marriage cases the high court could consider because it hinges on that "fundamental" question and isn't encumbered by side issues.
"The fundamental marriage issue is whether ... the legal definition of marriage (should) be changed from the union of a man and a woman to the union of any two persons," the coalition filing said.
“After twenty years of intense judicial and extra-judicial engagement with the question of the public meaning of marriage, the Nation is now looking to this Court for the federal constitutional answer to the fundamental marriage issue."
The Nevada lawsuit, Sevcik v. Sandoval, was filed in April; it was the first by Lambda Legal to make the direct state marriage equality claim in federal court.
Tara Borelli, an attorney for Lambda Legal in Los Angeles, said Lambda will oppose the coalition's petition and and doubts the Supreme Court will take up the case.