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Marriage Equality

BREAKING: Supreme Court Denies Stay on Idaho Marriage Equality

BREAKING: Supreme Court Denies Stay on Idaho Marriage Equality


It's unclear whether same-sex couples can currently marry in Idaho.


The U.S. Supreme Court today denied Idaho officials' request to place a hold on a lower court ruling striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriage, possibly clearing the way for same-sex couples to begin marrying in the state.

The two-sentence order was issued Friday afternoon without comment, though the Associated Press reports that it effectively reinstates a decision that had been placed on hold from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Today's order will allow that decision, which found Idaho's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, to take effect as it did in Nevada, according to the AP.

On Wednesday, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy granted Idaho governor Butch Otter's request for a stay on implementing marriage equality as the state prepared to appeal Tuesday's unanimous decision from a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit to the full circuit, a process known as an en banc hearing.

But today's order from the Supreme Court expressly vacated Kennedy's previous order granting that stay, which technically means that the Ninth Circuit's ruling, striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriage, is now the presiding legal ruling on the issue.

The unsigned court order, reports SCOTUSBlog, is "further indication that the Justices are unwilling to be drawn into the constitutional controversy at this point, leaving it to lower courts to continue to explore it."

Additionally, SCOTUSBlog reports that the Ninth Circuit "is expected to act shortly to put its decision back into full effect, clearing the way for gay and lesbian couples in Idaho to seek marriage licenses."

In a statement celebrating today's news, the Human Rights Campaign said that same-sex couples can now marry in Idaho. While the state could still appeal the Ninth Circuit decision -- indeed, the state has indicated its intent to request an en banc hearing -- HRC reports that the state cannot deny same-sex couples marriage licenses while it files any appeal.

"Today's Supreme Court order is yet another critical step in the path towards full nationwide marriage equality," said HRC's legal director Sarah Warbelow. "Same-sex couples cannot wait while the judicial process plays out, and the Supreme Court clearly agrees."

This story is developing and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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