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Supreme Court Puts Idaho Marriages On Hold

Supreme Court Puts Idaho Marriages On Hold

Same-sex couples in Idaho will have to wait a bit longer before they can legally marry, after the U.S. Supreme Court this morning placed a hold on a lower court's decision striking down marriage bans in the state. 

The Washington Blade reports that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is responsible for overseeing requests from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, granted Idaho officials' request for an emergency stay of yesterday's ruling from the Ninth Circuit, which found Idaho's ban on same-sex marriages to be unconstitutional.

Hours after that ruling came down, attorneys representing Idaho Governor Butch Otter, and Attorney General Tom Horne — both Republicans — asked the high court to place a hold on the ruling as the state prepares to request a rehearing from the full Ninth Circuit, reports SCOTUSBlog. That petition, which will request what is known as an en banc hearing, is the next step in the appeals process, though notably, other states defending marriage bans, like Utah, have skipped the optional en banc request and petitioned the Supreme Court directly.

The one-page order will, for the time being, allow Idaho to continue refusing to perform or recognize same-sex marriages "pending further order" from Kennedy or from the full Supreme Court.

Tuesday's unanimous decision from the Ninth Circuit also found Nevada's ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional, and an amended order from the Supreme Court issued Wednesday afternoon clarified that marriage equality can begin in Nevada, since the state's officials have stopped defending the ban in court. 

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