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Federal appeals court judges bristles at defendants of gay marriage bans

CHICAGO (WTAQ) - Three federal appeals judges had tough questions and criticisms Tuesday for the lawyers who defended the gay marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana.

A three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court in Chicago heard arguments on the states' appeals of their same-sex bans, both of which were thrown out by U.S. district judges.

Appellate Judge Richard Posner bristled when Wisconsin Justice attorney Timothy Samuelson pointed to "tradition" in justifying the Badger State's gay marriage ban. Posner said it was also a tradition not to let blacks marry whites -- and that got "swept away."

Posner called same-sex marriage bans "a tradition of hate and savage discrimination."

The judge pressed Samuelson to explain why the Wisconsin ban exists. He said it's partly to encourage couples to stay together when they have kids.

Posner said the adopted children of same-sex couples would benefit if their parents could claim state tax breaks and other benefits that married couples receive.

The judge ran through a list of psychological strains that kids of same-sex couples get -- including trouble grasping why their parents are not married while their classmates' parents are.

Posner asked Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fischer, "What benefit outweighs that kind of damage to children?" Fischer replied, "Procreation. Men and women make babies, same-sex couples do not. We have to have a mechanism to regulate that, and marriage is that mechanism."

The ACLU and Lambda Legal, which sued over the Wisconsin and Indiana gay marriage bans, stated their reasons for what they called the bans' unfairness.

It's not known when the appellate court will rule.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)