Looking Out: Jurors can't be excluded based on sexual orientation, court says

LGBT-related news and commentary from around the web

By Michael Gold

The Baltimore Sun

6:12 PM EST, January 24, 2014


In a decision with wide-reaching implications, a federal appeals court ruled this week that potential jurors cannot be left off of juries based on their sexual orientations.

Remember the antitrust case involving two purveyors of HIV/AIDS drugs that was moving through appeals courts this September? (I know the answer's no - hence the link.) The short version: GlaxoSmithKline appealed a jury's verdict because lawyers for its opponent in the case, Abbott Laboratories, removed a gay man from the jury using a no-questions-asked peremptory strike.

Peremptory strikes can't be used to eliminate jurors based on race or gender, and Glaxo's lawyers argued that the same protections should be extended to gay jurors as well.

In a unanimous decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that discrimination based on sexual orientation should be subject to higher scrutiny by courts. Further, writing for the court, Judge Stephen Reinhardt said "we also hold that equal protection prohibits peremptory strikes based on sexual orientation."

Explaining further, Reinhardt writes "permitting a strike based on sexual orientation would send the false message that gays and lesbians could not be trusted to reason fairly on issues of great import to the community or the nation."

That certainly puts jury duty in a whole new light.

Raising our right hand and swearing on to other news:

That's the LGBT-related news that flew out at us this week. (That was an airplane pun.) What are you reading?