A federal judge in Nevada rejected claims by gay couples that the government must recognize their unions as valid marriages, ruling that the state's amendment to protect the definition of marriage can stand.
“The perpetuation of the human race depends upon traditional procreation between men and women,” said U.S. District Judge Robert C. Jones in his opinion, announced Nov. 29.
“The institution developed in our society, its predecessor societies, and by nearly all societies on Earth throughout history to solidify, standardize, and legalize the relationship between a man, a woman, and their offspring, is civil marriage between one man and one woman,” he explained.
The ruling comes shortly before the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to announce whether it will take up cases dealing with a redefinition of marriage next year.
Nine states and the District of Columbia have chosen to redefine marriage to include gay couples, while some 30 states have adopted constitutions to protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Nevada adopted a marriage protection amendment in 2002.
The same-sex couples that filed the Sevcik v. Sandoval lawsuit in Nevada had argued that they were being denied equal protection of the law in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because they could not legally marry.
However, Jones ruled that maintaining the definition of marriage “is a legitimate state interest.”
“Because the family is the basic societal unit, the State could have validly reasoned that the consequences of altering the traditional definition of civil marriage could be severe,” he said.