The Attorney General of Nevada, Catherine Cortez Masto (D), filed a 55-page brief with the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals this week in which she urged that the state's ban on marriage equality--part of Nevada's constitution--be upheld. In this document, she expressed an interest "to protect and perpetuate traditional marriage," and proceeded to define "what marriage is not."
The invocation of bigamy and incest in Nevada’s brief before the Ninth Circuit recalls the first legal brief the Obama administration filed in support of the Defense of Marriage Act when it was still defending the law in court. That brief invoked bigamy and pedophilia to assert the constitutionality of the ban on federal recognition of same-sex marriage, which riled LGBT advocates.
Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, took Masto to task for making an implicit comparison between same-sex marriage and bigamy or incest while saying she makes no solid argument against allowing gay nuptials in Nevada.
“Marriage is not ‘defined’ by who is denied it, and nothing in the brief explains why loving and committed couples of the same sex should be denied the legal commitment and bundle of obligations and protections that are available to different-sex couples,” Wolfson said. “To invoke bigamy and incest, as the attorney general does — at least she stopped short of bestiality! — doesn’t supply an explanation; it makes clear that the state has nothing to offer to justify the discrimination against same-sex couples in Nevada.
You can read the full story, including information on Lamda Legal's case against Nevada's ban on marriage equality and Masto's arguments, here.
"This list of what marriage is not is a distraction that does nothing to support the legal discrimination against loving and committed couples. Media covering Nevada's marriage equality case need to ask what the point of adding in these tired old stereotypes to a legal brief actually accomplishes," said GLAAD's Director of News, Ross Murray. "However, Nevada is right to state that marriage is not equal to domestic partnerships, which is precisely why gay and lesbian citizens in Nevada need marriage equality."