9th Circuit Strikes Down Gay Marriage Bans In Idaho And Nevada

By Nick Blumberg
Published: Tuesday, October 7, 2014 - 3:31pm
Updated: Tuesday, October 7, 2014 - 5:36pm
U.S. Supreme Court

Just one day after the U.S. Supreme Court effectively let gay marriages go forward in five states, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against gay marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada. That means Arizona’s ban on gay unions could be struck down soon.

Arizona’s anti-gay marriage law is being challenged in two federal court cases right now. Since Arizona is in the same judicial circuit as Idaho and Nevada, Tuesday’s decision sets a legal precedent for undoing Arizona’s ban.

The judge in those cases has already indicated he thinks the ban is likely unconstitutional. Lawyers plan to file a request with the judge, likely in the next few days, asking him to immediately rule against Arizona’s law. But the Attorney General’s Office, which has been defending the ban, doesn’t think this is a done deal. Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said Idaho and Nevada can still appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

“If everything were to stand and the United States Supreme Court chose not to take review based on Nevada or Idaho, we could of course have the option to still appeal it or file our own petition with the Supreme Court," Grisham said.

But Jennifer Pizer with gay-rights group Lambda Legal said the Supreme Court isn’t likely to hear an appeal from Idaho, Nevada or Arizona.

“Arizona is in the ninth Circuit," Pizer said. "This decision binds all of the lower courts in the ninth Circuit, and they have nothing to argue that hasn’t already been heard and rejected. And so it would be a moment to concede and move onto other business.”

Pizer said if the Supreme Court was worried gay marriage was harming the public, it would have agreed to hear the cases it turned away on Monday. 

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