A US appeals court has upheld an earlier decision by a panel which stated that gay people should not be excluded from jury duty because of their sexual orientation.

In January a three judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a man had been wrongly excluded from jury duty based on his sexual orientation. 

Today the full 9th Circuit refused to rehear the case, meaning an order for a new trial between GlaxoSmithKlein and AbbVie stands.

The unanimous ruling in January was made by the panel, and  was seen to have extended the protections once only offered against race or gender discrimination.

The court overturned a jury verdict in a federal antitrust trial which involved HIV medication, and was challenged because a gay prospective juror was removed from a jury list.

Thirteen civil rights groups, citing the June 2013 strike-down of DOMA, had urged the 9th Circuit Court to extend the protections to gay and lesbian people being considered for federal jury pools.