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SCOTUS Justice Anthony Kennedy Lifts Stay On Same-Sex Marriage In Nevada


Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has issued a second order today ending his previously issued stay only as it applies to Nevada. The stay on the 9th Circuit's ruling will remain in effect for Idaho. BuzzFeed reports, "Justice Anthony Kennedy ended the stay as to the Nevada marriage case, likely clearing the path for same-sex couples to be able to marry there soon."


At Least One Same-Sex Couple Married In Idaho Before Justice Kennedy's Stay: PHOTO


According to The Idaho Statesman, one gay couple was able to get married in Twin Falls, Idaho before Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy issued his stay of the 9th Circuit's ruling striking down bans on same-sex marriage in Idaho and Nevada. Same-sex couples were supposed to be able to begin marrying immediately in both states following a mandate issued by the 9th Circuit.

It is unclear at this time whether other same-sex couples in Idaho, or Nevada for that matter, were able to get marriage licenses before Justice Kennedy's stay was imposed.

Gay Weddings Halted In Idaho And Nevada Following SCOTUS Justice Anthony Kennedy's Stay Of 9th Circuit Ruling: VIDEO


While same-sex couples were set to be able to begin marrying today in Nevada, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's stay of the 9th Circuit Court's ruling striking down gay marriage bans in Nevada and Idaho has effectively blocked same-sex couples in both states from saying "I do." 

Justice Kennedy's stay came after an emergency motion filed by Idaho state officials that requested a recall of the mandate from the 9th Circuit that made its ruling effective immediately.

The Star Tribune reports:

In Las Vegas, the self-proclaimed marriage capital of the world, the Marriage License Bureau had expected big crowds seeking gender-neutral marriage licenses starting at 2 p.m. local time. But Clark County Clerk Diane Alba told The Associated Press those plans were on hold.

"It looks pretty clear that we're not going to issue licenses this afternoon," she said.

Amber Beierle, one of the eight women who sued Idaho over its gay marriage ban, had hoped to marry her partner, Rachael Robertson, on Wednesday.

"We were past the metal detectors, we were just a few feet away from the clerk, and then our attorney was handed a one-page document," Beierle said. "Apparently it was Justice Kennedy telling us no."

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter said he was glad Kennedy acted quickly.

"I'm pleased that Justice Kennedy has given us the opportunity to make our case in a way that helps avoid the confusion some other states have faced," Otter said. "I intend to be faithful to my oath of office and keep working to protect the Idaho Constitution and the mandate of Idaho voters in support of traditional marriage."

The delay could last just a few days. Kennedy's order requested a response from the plaintiffs involved in Idaho's gay marriage lawsuit by the end of Thursday.

The entire Supreme Court would need to weigh in to extend the stay beyond a couple of days. 

Watch a news report from Idaho on the stay and the disappointed couples, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Idaho Files Emergency Motion to Recall 9th Circuit Mandate Lifting Gay Marriage Ban

Idaho's Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and Governor Butch Otter (pictured) have filed an emergency motion to recall a 9th Circuit mandate that would lift the state's gay marriage ban.

KTVB reports: Otter

Because of the mandate, same-sex couples in Idaho won't have to wait for the standard 7-day time span for the ruling to take effect. The Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure typically provide the seven-day waiting period to give the losing side a chance to appeal.

But the state of Idaho filed an emergency motion to recall that mandate, the attorney general's office confirmed Wednesday morning. It's unclear whether same-sex marriages will be allowed to proceed Wednesday.

Officials at the courthouse say they are following the order from the district court and will move forward once they get the word. The clerk's office got plenty of calls Tuesday about when gay couples can begin to wed.

The Idaho Statesman adds:

Earlier this morning, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter filed a motion with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals seeking a stay pending appeal of the court's ruling Tuesday that Idaho's law banning gay marriage is unconstitutional be stayed pending an appeal.

Without the stay, county clerks throughout Idaho will be compelled to begin issuing mariage licenses to same-sex couples beginning at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

"Each same-sex marriage performed will be contrary to the interests of the state and its citizens in being able to define marriage through ordinary democratic channels," wrote Thomas C. Perry, counsel for the governor, in one of three filings this morning.

A stay would allow the state to seek a review by the entire 9th Circuit Court of Appeals of Tuesday's ruling by a three-member panel. Perry wrote the state is also prepared to press the matter before the United States Supreme Court.

However, the paper also reports that Ada County Clerk Chris Rich was told by the attorney general's office at 9 pm last night to begin issuing licenses to gay couples seeking them "until he hears otherwise."

UPDATE: Justice Anthony Kennedy orders temporary stay.

Read the motion below:

14-35420 #183 by Equality Case Files

Gay Idahoans Poised to Marry as Governor, Attorney General Review 9th Circuit Decision

While Nevada's Governor and Attorney General have given the go-ahead following yesterday's 9th Circuit ruling striking down gay marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada, Idahoans await word from state officials, according to The Statesman:

OtterGay marriage advocates were planning an 8 a.m. Wednesday rally at the Ada County Courthouse, but the county clerk cautioned people to wait for clarity before expecting to get a marriage license.

County Clerk Chris Rich said his staff is ready to issue same-sex marriage licenses as soon as he gets a directive from U.S. District Court or Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden.

“Hopefully, someone will call me and tell me what to do,” Rich said.

Wasden said Tuesday night that his office is reviewing the 9th Circuit actions. “It’s still too early to know fully what the decision and orders mean for Idaho and how the state will proceed,” he said.

Idaho Governor C.L. 'Butch' Otter (pictured) released a statement shortly after the 9th Circuit ruling yesterday:

“Today’s decision by the 9th Circuit is disappointing, but not unexpected. I will carefully evaluate the opinion, along with yesterday’s surprising decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, and talk with legislative leaders and the Attorney General before determining our path forward. The stay on same-sex marriage in Idaho remains in effect until we are directed otherwise by the 9th Circuit.” 

Meanwhile, the 9th Circuit has issued its mandate of the ruling.

9th Circuit Strikes Down Same-Sex Marriage Bans In Idaho, Nevada: READ

Coming on the heels of yesterday's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court not to take up any of the 7 petitions on same-sex marriage it was considering, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today struck down bans on same-sex marriage in Idaho and Nevada.

The Washington Blade reports:9

In two rulings on Tuesday, a three-judge panel on the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the bans on same-sex marriage in Idaho and Nevada. Writing for the court, U.S. Circuit Judge Reinhardt says judges found the law were unconstitutional by subjecting them to heightened scrutiny.

“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,” Reinhardt writes.

The Ninth Circuit decision affirms a lower district court ruling against Idaho’s ban on same-sex marriage, but it also reverses a court rulings affirming the ban on same-sex marriage in Nevada that was handed down in 2012 before the Supreme Court decision against the Defense of Marriage Act.

Read the decision, AFTER THE JUMP...

Back in September, our legal editor Ari Ezra Waldman noted that the judges were highly skeptical of the anti-equality arguments, and predicted this unanimous decision.

Wrote Waldman:

Three progressive judges, though more muted in their questioning than Judge Posner was at the Seventh Circuit, were no less skeptical of the homophobic, ahistorical, misleading, misdirected arguments against allowing gays to marry. The hearing was a testament to how far we have come since the last time marriage equality was before Judge Reinhardt. The 2 to 1 decision in the Prop 8 case was an exercise in caution, an attempt to give the Supreme Court a way to support marriage equality without jumping ahead of too much of country. But at that time, we didn't have Windsor, we didn't have several other appellate courts declare bans unconstitutional, and we didn't have an emerging consensus written down in appellate and district court opinions. At that time, we had only a handful of marriage equality states; today, we have 19 states and the District of Columbia with equal marriage, covering more than 44 percent of the population. Today's hearing will result in an opinion with none of the hedges and narrowings of Perry. It will likely be unanimous and another sign that this debate is nearing its end.

Stay tuned for more updates on this breaking story.

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