The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday struck down same-sex marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana, upholding previous rulings from lower courts.
The unanimous decision, written by US Circuit Judge Richard Posner, cited the Constitution's Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses. It continues a number of legal victories for same-sex couples following the US Supreme Court ruling that ended the federal ban on same-sex marriage.
"The harm to homosexuals (and, as we'll emphasize, to their adopted children) of being denied the right to marry is considerable," Posner wrote. "Because homosexuality is not a voluntary condition and homosexuals are among the most stigmatized, misunderstood, and discriminated-against minorities in the history of the world, the disparagement of their sexual orientation, implicit in the denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples, is a source of continuing pain to the homosexual community."
The decision will not take effect immediately, as it first must work through the appeals process. LGBT advocates widely expect the US Supreme Court will make the final decision on the issue.
The ruling sets a legal precedent for entire Seventh District, which includes Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Illinois already allows same-sex marriage.