U.S. justice grants Idaho's request to block gay marriage

Wed Oct 8, 2014 12:34pm EDT
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By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on Wednesday granted a request from Idaho officials by temporarily blocking gay marriages from beginning, following a regional federal appeals court's ruling striking down the state's same-sex marriage ban.

There was some confusion over whether the court's order also affects the ban in Nevada, which was struck down as part of the same 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that invalidated the Idaho ban.

Nevada did not ask the Supreme Court to block the ruling. But officials in Nevada's Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, said on Twitter that the issuance of marriage licenses for same-sex couples, which was due to begin at 1700 EDT, will now be put on hold.

The brief order issued by the high court said that Idaho gay marriage supporters in the case should file a response to the state's emergency request by 5 p.m. EDT on Thursday. The court will then decide whether to issue a more permanent stay.

"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," said Idaho Republican Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter.

In the meantime, gay marriages in Idaho, and possibly Nevada as well, will not be able to proceed. The order was issued by Kennedy because he is the justice assigned to deal with emergency applications from states covered by the 9th Circuit.

The move by the Supreme Court follows its announcement on Monday that the nine justices would not hear appeals involving previous regional federal appeals court rulings that overturned gay marriage prohibitions in other states.

In doing so, the high court elected not to provide a national ruling that settled once and for all the matter of whether U.S. states can ban same-sex couples from getting married.   Continued...

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy  (L, gray suit and red tie) speaks with a member of the clergy as they exit following the Red Mass, a service to mark the beginning of this year's Supreme Court term, at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington October 5, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst