Saturday, October 11, 2014

Marriage Equality Proponents Win Victories In Nevada, Idaho, North Carolina

As previously reported, on Wednesday U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy issued an order temporarily staying the 9th Circuit's  mandate invalidating same-sex marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada, even though only Idaho officials applied for the stay.  Later the same day, Justice Kennedy issued a second order (full text) vacating the portion of his order staying the 9th Circuit's decision as to Nevada, presumably allowing same-sex marriages to begin immediately there.Then yesterday, the full Court issued an order as to the Idaho case (full text) reading:
The application for stay presented to Justice Kennedy and by him referred to the Court is denied. The orders heretofore entered by Justice Kennedy are vacated.
The 9th Circuit's decision affirmed the Idaho federal district court's decision invalidating Idaho's same-sex marriage ban.  However, because the 9th Circuit recalled its mandate ordering its affirmance effective immediately once the petition for a stay was filed with the Supreme Court, the parties are concerned that the decision by itself did not serve to dissolve the stay pending appeal of the district court's decision entered by the 9th Circuit in May. So yesterday the plaintiffs filed a motion (full text) to dissolve that stay, and (as reported by SCOTUblog) the 9th Circuit has called for a response by noon Monday, and a reply to that by 5:00 p.m. Monday. [Corrected chronology.]

Meanwhile, in General Synod of the United Church of Christ v. Resinger, (D NC, Oct. 10, 2014), a North Carolina federal district court on its own motion in a case challenging North Carolina's same-sex marriage ban held that the ban is unconstitutional as a matter of law.  In a brief opinion and order, the court pointed to the 4th Circuit's decision in Bostic v. Schaefer striking down Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage. (See prior posting.) The Charlotte Observer reports on the decision.