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

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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."

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

IDAHO

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...

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


Nevada Clerks To Begin Issuing Same-Sex Marriage Licenses Today: VIDEO

Nevada

Following yesterday's ruling from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals striking down same-sex marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada, the clerk for Clark County in Nevada announced that same-sex couples will be able to begin seeking marriage licenses starting today at 2 P.M. local time. Clark County encompasses Las Vegas within its boundaries. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports:

Clark County Clerk Diana Alba said the Marriage Bureau will start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples at 2 p.m. today, according to county spokesman Erik Pappa.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals expedited the date when its decision to void Nevada’s same-sex marriage ban will take effect, he said.

The Marriage Bureau is at 201 E. Clark Ave., on the first floor of the Regional Justice Center in downtown Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, the 9th Circuit, which promised to issue its mandate "forthwith", did just that, issuing an order that declared its ruling shall take effect immediately:

The judgment of this Court, entered October 07, 2014, takes effect this date. This constitutes the formal mandate of this Court issued pursuant to Rule 41(a) of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure.

SandovalNevada Governor Brian Sandoval--who previously stated that he believes marriage is between one man and one woman but also said he would respect a decision from the courts that contradicted his personal beliefs--issued a statement of support for the 9th Circuit's decision:

“The ruling today confirmed my previous position that the State’s arguments against same sex marriage are no longer defensible in court. The SmithKline decision in February changed the legal standard which is why we originally withdrew our appeal. I respect the decision of the Court,” said Governor Brian Sandoval.

Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, urged local clerks to work with the appropriate district attorneys to determine whether to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples:

“We are encouraged by the decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. However, although the Ninth Circuit has filed its decision in the case, it has not yet issued its mandate. The parties have 14 days to seek reconsideration or seek a stay to file an appeal with the United State Supreme Court. County clerks should work with their respective district attorneys on the appropriate course of action."

The court's mandate had not been issued at the time of both Sandoval and Cortez Masto's statements.

Watch a video of equality advocates celebrating yesterday's ruling and read the mandate issued by the 9th Circuit, AFTER THE JUMP...

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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.

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


Ninth Circuit Panel Eviscerates What's Left of Anti-Equality Arguments: A Summary and Analysis

BY ARI EZRA WALDMAN

BerzonA soft-spoken attorney representing Idaho started his state's anti-marriage equality argument by suggesting that allowing gays to marry violates the "bonding right" of children that they will be raised by their biological mothers and fathers. It took Judge Marsha Berzon just 15 seconds to ask her first question: "What is that word you're using before 'right'"? Judge Berzon can hear just fine; it's just that she had never heard anyone make such a ridiculous claim before today. The rest of the hearing followed similarly.

Judge Stephen Reinhardt, a Carter-appointee and liberal leader of the appellate courts, was joined by Judge Berzon, a sharp-minded progressive appointed by President Clinton, and Judge Robert Gould, another Clinton appointee, in a nearly two-hour long interrogation of attorneys from Idaho and Nevada that may not have been as bombastic as Judge Posner's treatment of attorneys from Wisconsin and Indiana in the Seventh Circuit, a hearing which resulted in a marvelous unanimous victory ("Go figure!"), but was every bit as damaging to the forces opposed to marriage equality.

It also brought marriage equality full circle. Judge Reinhardt was the judge that wrote the first decision from a federal appellate court on marriage equality, affirming District Judge Vaughn Walker's pioneering rejection of California's Prop 8. We all know how that case turned out.

And we know what's happened since: a Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and a long streak of pro-marriage equality decisions from the lower federal courts, including several appellate courts.

Yesterday's hearing reminded us how far we have really come. Some of the arguments and much of the tone were different this time around. The judges' questioning was direct and they expressed a similar, though less visible, frustration with the misdirection and misleading statements from the anti-equality attorneys as Judge Posner. The tone of the hearing suggested that marriage equality supporters are finally out of the closet, following a tidal wave of an emerging consensus of the legitimacy and morality of marriage freedom for all.

A summary and analysis follows AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Ninth Circuit Panel Eviscerates What's Left of Anti-Equality Arguments: A Summary and Analysis" »


Watch LIVE: Ninth Circuit Oral Arguments in Idaho, Nevada, and Hawaii Gay Marriage Cases

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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the Hawaii, Idaho and Nevada gay marriage cases today and will be live streaming the arguments from the courtroom in San Francisco.

The feeds will begin shortly before 1pm PT, with Idaho getting 30 minutes per side, Nevada getting 20 minutes, and Hawaii 10. 

Watch the feeds AFTER THE JUMP... 

Last week, we reported on the three judge panel that will hear the gay marriage cases - with Equality on Trial pointing out that the trio are considered "some of the most liberal appeals court judges in the country." 

MSNBC reports that sexual orientation also has "heightened scrutiny" in the Ninth Circuit, which bodes well for a pro-equality victory: 

With heightened scrutiny, defendants (such as state officials arguing on behalf of same-sex marriage bans) would have to show how a law that treats gay and lesbian people differently serves an important or compelling state interest, not just a legitimate one. Heightened scrutiny essentially shifts the burden of proof off of the plaintiffs, and makes laws that discriminate against same-sex couples more difficult to defend.

Continue reading "Watch LIVE: Ninth Circuit Oral Arguments in Idaho, Nevada, and Hawaii Gay Marriage Cases" »


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