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Court Rules Against Same-Sex Marriage Bans in Wisconsin, Indiana

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Image: Jill Winkler, left, and Pamela Dietzler hold hands as they are married at the Milwaukee County Courthouse
Jill Winkler, left, and Pamela Dietzler hold hands as they are married at the Milwaukee County Courthouse June in Milwaukee. Same-sex couples began getting married in Wisconsin on Friday shortly after a federal judge struck down the state's gay marriage ban and despite confusion over the effect of the ruling.JEFFREY PHELPS / AP file

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CHICAGO — A U.S. appeals court ruled Thursday that same-sex marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana violate the U.S. Constitution, in another in a series of courtroom wins for gay-marriage advocates. The unanimous decision by the three-judge panel of the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago bumps the number of states where gay marriage will be legal from 19 to 21. Since last year, the vast majority of federal rulings have declared same-sex marriages bans unconstitutional.

Thursday's 40-page ruling sharply criticized the reasons both states gave for the bans, saying, "The only rationale that the states put forth with any conviction — that same-sex couples and their children don't need marriage because same-sex couples can't produce children, intended or unintended — is so full of holes that it cannot be taken seriously." The Wisconsin and Indiana cases shifted to Chicago after attorneys general in the states appealed separate lower court rulings in June that tossed the bans. The 7th Circuit stayed those rulings pending its own decision on the cases, which were considered simultaneously.

Image: Jill Winkler, left, and Pamela Dietzler hold hands as they are married at the Milwaukee County Courthouse
Jill Winkler, left, and Pamela Dietzler hold hands as they are married at the Milwaukee County Courthouse June in Milwaukee. Same-sex couples began getting married in Wisconsin on Friday shortly after a federal judge struck down the state's gay marriage ban and despite confusion over the effect of the ruling.JEFFREY PHELPS / AP file

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