The governor and attorney general of Nevada have today announced that they will no longer defend their state’s constitutional prohibition on gay marriage. The AP story buries the reason, but it is found in an oblique reference to another case in the same (Ninth) federal circuit that only recently decided gays could not be excluded from jury service on the basis of their sexual orientation. Nevada’s top lawyer thinks this kills their defense because, until now, only race and gender were wholly barred as reasons why a person could be excluded from jury duty. Apparently, the new ruling means that gays, minorities, and women all share the same status as protected classes under the Equal Protection clause of the federal constitution. This is the argument Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring made when he previously said he would not defend Virginia’s constitutional ban on gay marriage.
Herring’s opponents say he is derelict in his duty. No doubt, some in Nevada will say the same thing about their own AG. Regardless, it appears the end is near for bans on gay marriage, and that Mark Herring isn’t the only state attorney general who can read the writing on the wall (or on the constitution).