WASHINGTON — Idaho and Nevada's bans on same-sex couples' marriages are unconstitutional, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday.

Judge Stephen Reinhardt, writing for the panel, applied additional scrutiny to the claimed sexual orientation discrimination the same-sex couples in the two states faced by the bans. The 9th Circuit heald earlier this year that such additional scrutiny — heightened scrutiny — applies to sexual orientation claims.

He wrote:

We hold that the Idaho and Nevada laws at issue violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because they deny lesbians and gays who wish to marry persons of the same sex a right they afford to individuals who wish to marry persons of the opposite sex, and do not satisfy the heightened scrutiny standard we adopted in SmithKline.