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WATCH: Plaintiffs in Challenge to Alaska's Gay Marriage Ban Marry in Anchorage

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Stephanie Pearson and Courtney Lamb, one of the five same-sex couples that successfully sued the state of Alaska for the right to marry, exchanged vows outside the Frontier Building in Anchorage earlier this morning, KTVA reports

“Quite the emotional roller coaster it’s been,” said Lamb, smiling from ear to ear. “But very worth it in the end. Today is a great day.”

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Ninth Circuit Grants Temporary Stay on Gay Marriages In Alaska Pending SCOTUS Appeal

Same-sex marriage in Alaska, which began Monday after a federal judge overturned the state's gay marriage ban, has now been placed on temporary hold by the Ninth Circuit in order to allow the state time to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court. 

The Washington Blade reports:

AlaskaAccording to the two-page order, same-sex weddings are stayed until Friday at 12 pm Pacific Time (3 pm Eastern Time) to give state officials the opportunity to obtain an additional stay from the Supreme Court. But if the Supreme Court declines to halt the weddings, the Ninth Circuit stay will dissolve by that deadline. [...]

Adam Romero, federal legal director for the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, said the stay has the effect of creating “tiny window” for the Supreme Court to consider a stay before same-sex marriages continue in Alaska.

“Given the Supreme Court’s recent decisions on similar requests, I expect the Court to deny a stay to Alaska, which will result in same-sex marriage coming to Alaska while the states exhausts its appeals,” Romero said. “On the merits, I see no scenario, in the present circumstances, in which the Ninth Circuit does not strike down Alaska’s ban, or Arizona’s or Montana’s bans for that matter.”

On Friday, the Supreme Court lifted a similar stay in the Ninth Circuit ruling overturning Idaho's gay marriage ban. 

Read the order granting temporary stay below via Equality Case Files


Federal Judge Denies Stay of Ruling That Struck Down Alaska's Gay Marriage Ban; State Asks 9th Circuit To Intervene

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After Federal Judge Timothy Burgess ruled on Monday that Alaska's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, the state requested a stay of the ruling that would effectively halt same-sex marriage in the Land of the Midnight Sun. Judge Burgess yesterday denied that request. Unsatisfied with that result, Alaska then asked the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has appellate jurisdiction in Alaska, to step in and grant an emergency stay, halting Judge Burgess' ruling from continuing to take effect. The Alaska Dispatch News reports: 

BurgessAn appeal in the case, which could potentially overturn the decision, will also be filed with the 9th Circuit. The state filed its notice to appeal the decision Monday.

The request, filed Tuesday evening, asks that the 9th Circuit allow a stay, which would halt same-sex marriages, because it is possible the court will rehear cases surrounding similar bans in Nevada and Idaho, or that another circuit court could rule in upholding a ban and cause a split in the courts. 

The state also petitioned for "en banc" review, where an 11-judge panel in the 9th Circuit could possibly hear the case. That review is generally difficult to get, according to attorneys in the case, since a majority of 9th Circuit judges -- there are 29 -- must vote to even hear the case.


First Gay Couples Marry In Alaska: VIDEO

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After a federal judge's ruling overturned Alaska's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage (passed in 1998), same-sex Alaskan couples  yesterday began seeking marriage licenses. Some had already been married out of state and wanted recognition in their home state as well. Most couples were forced to adhere to a 3 day waiting period imposed on couples in Alaska who wish to seek marriage licenses. However, at least two same-sex couples in Alaska were able to avoid the waiting period and got married on the spot. Alaska Dispatch News reports:

It appears that at least two same-sex couples have been married in Barrow, according to Kristine Hilderbrand, who said state Magistrate Mary Treiber waived the three-day waiting period required after issuing of marriage licenses. Hilderbrand said she married Sarah Ellis at about 4 p.m. Monday. The two are likely the first same-sex couples to be married in Alaska. Department of Heath and Social Services spokesman Jason Grenn said the state was still reviewing the legality of the marriages.

Meanwhile, the state continues its plans for defending the ban:

The state of Alaska filed an emergency motion for a stay on a Sunday ruling overturning Alaska's ban on same-sex marriage, pending final appeal in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Monday afternoon. The state argues that since the 9th Circuit could potentially hear the case "en banc" -- before a larger panel of judges than the three who decided the Nevada and Idaho cases last week -- and that there is a "reasonable likelihood" that a circuit split will develop in the near future, the court should issue the stay in order to "avoid chaos" in the administration of Alaska's marriage laws. Until a judge rules on the motion, marriages in Alaska will be allowed to proceed.

Watch a news report on the sweeping changes hitting Alaska and the debate still raging on, AFTER THE JUMP...

[Photo via Alaska Dispatch News]

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Marriage Equality Arrives in Alaska: PHOTOS

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As expected, Alaska began accepting applications for same-sex marriage licenses earlier this morning, following yesterday's federal court ruling overturning the state's ban on gay marriage.

Gay marriage is now legal in 30 states, according to Freedom to Marry. 

Marriage map

More photos of gay couples tying the knot in Alaska, AFTER THE JUMP...

Meanwhile, Alaska Governor Sean Parnell has pledged to continue wasting taxpayer money in his fruitless effort defending the state's unconstitutional gay marriage ban. 

[photos via Facebook]

Continue reading "Marriage Equality Arrives in Alaska: PHOTOS" »


Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell Vows to Continue Defending State's Unconstitutional Gay Marriage Ban

ParnellResponding to yesterday's federal court ruling overturning the state's gay marriage ban, Alaska Governor Sean Parnell released a statement vowing to appeal the decision.

Said Parnell:

"As Alaska’s governor, I have a duty to defend and uphold the law and the Alaska Constitution. Although the district court today may have been bound by the recent Ninth Circuit panel opinion, the status of that opinion and the law in general in this area is in flux. I will defend our constitution.”

Last week, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned similar bans in Idaho and Nevada. Alaska, along with Arizona and Montana, fall under the Ninth Circuit's purview.

Alaska Dispatch News adds officials with the state's Bureau of Vital Statistics will begin accepting applications for same-sex marriage licenses at 8 AM (12 ET) today.


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