Gay marriage bans fall in Idaho, Nevada after high court decision

Tue Oct 7, 2014 7:35pm EDT
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By Dan Levine

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Legal momentum for extending U.S. marriage rights to same-sex couples accelerated on Tuesday as a federal appeals court struck down bans on gay matrimony in Idaho and Nevada a day after the U.S. Supreme Court let stand similar rulings for five other states.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled the bans in Idaho and Nevada violated the constitution and cannot be enforced, adding to a growing list of states where same-sex unions are now legal.

"Idaho and Nevada's marriage laws, by preventing same-sex couples from marrying and refusing to recognize same-sex marriages celebrated elsewhere, impose profound legal, financial, social and psychic harms on numerous citizens of those states," Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote.

Rulings for the 9th Circuit are binding on all states in the court's region including three others that do not permit gay marriage, Arizona, Montana and Alaska, putting the United States on track for legalized gay marriage in 35 states.

In Idaho, Ty Carson and her lesbian partner of 16 years, Becky McGavin, were among the gay couples who plan to rush to the county courthouse in Boise to receive licenses.

"This is beyond my wildest dreams. I'm trying to get hold of Becky so we can get married as soon as possible," Carson said.

Chelsea Carattini, an assistant to the Ada County District Court Clerk in Boise, said her office was awaiting formal direction before issuing licenses. In Nevada, a Clark County official said the state attorney general's office still needed to review the ruling.

But Clark County Clerk Diana Alba said her office has been preparing for weeks, including changing the applications for marriage licenses so they use gender-neutral pronouns, employing "party one" and "party two" instead of "bride" and "groom."   Continued...

(L to R) Plaintiffs Moudi Sbeity and his partner Derek Kitchen, Kody Partridge and her wife Laurie Wood take a a "selfie" as they celebrate at a same-sex marriage rally in Salt Lake City, Utah, October 6, 2014. REUTERS/Jim