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Gay marriage’s win streak tested in higher court

BRADY MCCOMBS, Associated Press
NICHOLAS RICCARDI, Associated Press

DENVER (AP) — The gay rights movement’s winning streak in same-sex marriage lawsuits faces its biggest test yet in Denver where a federal appeals court will weigh whether to give an important victory to gay couples’ right to marry or halt their momentum.

A three-judge panel will hear arguments on Thursday and next week on whether they should uphold separate rulings by two federal judges that threw out same-sex marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma.

They do so, however, in a climate far different than 2004, when voters overwhelmingly approved the prohibitions in both states.

After the U.S. Supreme Court last year ruled that a law forbidding the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages was unconstitutional, eight federal judges in all have struck down state bans on gay marriage or on the recognition of same-sex marriages from other states.

As the panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals considers the Utah case Thursday, experts say pressure is on the judges at a time when polls show a majority of Americans backing same-sex unions.

“The challenge for conservative judge would be: Do you want to be the only court of appeals that upholds discrimination that the country is rapidly galloping to renounce?” said William Eskridge, a law professor at Yale University, said. “The handwriting is on the wall.”

-Published by Andrew Thompson

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