Frustration turned to elation Thursday as a dizzying legal wrangle ended with gay couples receiving marriage licenses in Las Vegas — the marriage capital of the world — and other cities across Nevada.
Couples cheered at the Las Vegas marriage license bureau when days of anticipation became reality after Clark County Clerk Diana Alba began granting same-sex partners the right to wed shortly after 5 p.m.
"It's amazing, this is it," said Theo Small as he stood next to his partner, Antioco Carillo, and looked down at their marriage license, the first issued in Las Vegas.
"We're walking on clouds," Carillo said. "This is unreal."
State Sen. Kelvin Atkinson wed Sherwood Howard shortly after gay couples began receiving marriage licenses.
WAITING ON CINCINNATI
There also is growing anticipation for a ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Cincinnati.
A three-judge panel heard arguments two months ago on challenges to gay marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, the biggest hearing of its kind on the issue.
Its eventual ruling could help determine when or even whether the Supreme Court takes up the issue. There has been no indication of a timetable by the 6th Circuit.
The Texas Republican nominee for governor says that his state's ban on same-sex marriage reduces out-of-wedlock births among heterosexuals.
In a brief filed with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday, Attorney General Greg Abbott claims that the State of Texas' ban on same-sex marriage reduces out-of-wedlock births, and legalizing same-sex marriage would make different-sex couples less interested in marrying and having children.
Texas’s same-sex marriage laws "are rationally related to the State’s interest in reducing unplanned out-of-wedlock births," Abbott, who is running for governor against Wendy Davis, claims in the brief, which was filed on Friday.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida will continue to fight to prohibit same-sex marriage even as other states are allowing it following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to ignore their appeals.
The court’s decision to turn away appeals from five states prompted the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida as well as lawyers representing same-sex couples on Tuesday to ask a federal judge in Tallahassee to allow same-sex marriages.
U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle this summer ruled Florida’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional, but stayed the ruling until other cases around the country were resolved. He said at the time he would not allow any change until 90 days after the resolution of other cases that were pending with the Supreme Court.
But in his filing written on behalf of two couples, Jacksonville attorney William Sheppard wrote that his clients should not wait to enjoy the same constitutional rights as couples in other parts of the country.
“They are not lesser people,” Sheppard wrote in his motion. “Their constitutional rights derive from the same Constitution. Their rights should be as exercisable and as protected as in other American jurisdictions.”
In a case brought by Christopher Shelden and Matthew Hamby (photo, above,), a federal judge has just ruled that the State of Alaska's ban on same-sex marriage violates both the equal protection and due process clauses of the U.S. Constitution.
C.L. "Butch" Otter, the twice-married, anti-gay Republican Governor of Idaho, announced in a statement this afternoon that he will not appeal the Ninth Circuit's decision striking down the state's marriage discrimination amendment as unconstitutional.
This clears the way for same-sex couples to apply for marriage licenses starting tomorrow, the AP reports:
Otter wrote in a statement released Tuesday that for now, the state has done all it can through the courts to defend traditional marriage in Idaho.
This means same-sex couples may receive marriage licenses in Idaho starting at 9 a.m. Pacific time.
Otter's announcement comes one day after Idaho attorney general Lawrence Wasden dropped his opposition to the stay. Wasden noted on Monday that his non-opposition doesn't signify that his office had changed its stance on gay marriage, and said he was still considering other legal options.
A federal judge declared Arizona's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional on Friday, BuzzFeed and NBC report.
U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick struck down the ban. He also refused to grant a stay of his opinion.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A federal judge has denied Arkansas’ request to delay proceedings in a lawsuit challenging the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage.
ArkansasArkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel earlier this year asked the court to put the case on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a case involving Utah’s gay marriage ban. Last week, the high court declined to consider appeals in that case and four others.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker rejected McDaniel’s request as moot.
WASHINGTON — The federal government will recognize same-sex marriages in seven more states and extend federal benefits to those couples, the Justice Department said Friday.
The announcement comes one week after the U.S. Supreme Court let stand rulings from three appeals courts that struck down bans on gay and lesbian marriages in five states – Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. That order opened the door for same-sex couples in those states to get married, though it stopped short of resolving the national gay-marriage issue.
The states covered by Friday’s announcement include the five directly affected by the Supreme Court order as well as Nevada and Colorado, where the Justice Department says subsequent rulings have allowed the federal government to recognize same-sex messages.
President Barack Obama seems to have changed his tune on gay marriage, telling The New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin he believes same-sex couples in all 50 states should be allowed to marry under the equal protection clause of the Constitution.
Obama first publicly backed gay marriage in May 2012, but noted he thought the issue should be left to the states. Speaking with Toobin for the Oct. 27 issue of The New Yorker, Obama said the best Supreme Court decision since he took office was the recent rejection of gay marriage appeals from five states, a move the president said is "a consequential and powerful signal of the changes that have taken place in society and that the law is having to catch up."
While Obama said the high court "was not quite ready" to "indicate an equal-protection right across the board," he personally believes same-sex marriage is protected under that clause. From The New Yorker:
U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree has scheduled a hearing for Friday at the federal courthouse in Kansas City, Kansas.
At issue is the request by the American Civil Liberties Union for a temporary injunction that would bring Kansas into line with a binding 10th Circuit Court of Appeals precedent set in other cases.
The ACLU argues gay couples should not be prevented from marrying, while government officials have vowed to defend the state’s constitutional prohibition against gay marriages.
WASHINGTON -- Former solicitor general Theodore Olson, the Republican lawyer who argued Bush v. Gore and the challenge to California's Proposition 8, says the Supreme Court through action and inaction this month passed "the point of no return" on same-sex marriage.
"I do not believe that the United States Supreme Court could rule that all of those laws prohibiting marriage are suddenly constitutional after all these individuals have gotten married and their rights have changed," he said in an interview on Capital Download. "To have that snatched away, it seems to me, would be inhuman; it would be cruel; and it would be inconsistent with what the Supreme Court has said about these issues in the cases that it has rendered."
This month, the high court let stand without explanation appeals court rulings permitting gay marriage in five states. In an interview with The New Yorker published last week, President Obama said he believes it is a constitutional right but endorsed the court's incremental approach.