Oct 17, 2014 7:08 PM
Gay marriage: Alaska, Arizona couples win fight
The Associated Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) Gay couples won the right to wed in Alaska and Arizona on Friday, after separate court decisions ended bans in those states.
The rulings close two weeks of legal wrangling, triggered by a U.S. Supreme Court decision last week that effectively legalized gay marriage in more than two dozen states. The list of holdouts has become smaller and smaller, after a series of rulings, many involving the federal appeals court for the West, brought down marriage bans.
After the recent decisions, gay couples have the right to marry in more than 30 states.
Here are some recent developments:
The U.S. Supreme Court has tersely denied the state of Alaska's request to put a stop to gay marriages pending an appeal. "The application for stay presented to Justice (Anthony) Kennedy and by him referred to the Court is denied," the one-sentence paragraph from the court said. The denial means that after a short hiatus gay marriage is again legal in Alaska and same-sex couples who have licenses can marry. A District Court judge struck down the 1998 gay marriage ban Sunday, ruling that it violated the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Several gay couples applied marriage licenses Monday, staring the clock on a three-day wait period until ceremonies could be held. Some judges, however, waived the requirement, and a handful of gay couples married right away.
Gay couples have stated getting married after a federal judge struck down Arizona's ban on gay marriage and the state's conservative attorney general said continuing to fight the case would be a waste of taxpayer dollars. The District Court ruling Friday overturns a 1996 state law and a 2008 voter-approved constitutional amendment that outlawed gay marriage.
A county magistrate resigned Thursday, a day after North Carolina officials were warned that refusal to perform gay marriages could lead to their being suspended or fired. The memo said state magistrates who refuse to marry same-sex couples are violating their sworn oaths, but Rockingham County Magistrate John Kallam Jr. said that when he took the oath, he didn't know he'd be required to perform gay marriages. The state directive came after a county official refused to marry two men, citing religious objections, and others followed. A federal judge last week struck down North Carolina's same-sex marriage ban.
A federal judge has heard arguments on South Dakota's attempt to uphold its gay marriage ban but says she will file her decision later. The state argues that a lawsuit challenging the state's gay marriage ban should be tossed because the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier affirmed Nebraska's ban on gay marriage. The judge didn't say when she would rule.
A northern Indiana Catholic bishop says the University of Notre Dame should have waited before deciding to extend benefits to same-sex spouses after federal court rulings legalized gay marriage in the state. Fort Wayne-South Bend Bishop Kevin Rhoades, who doesn't oversee the university, writes in the diocese newspaper that he wants to see more study of what religious institutions are required to do with changes to marriage laws. Rhoades says he believes it's important for Notre Dame to affirm Catholic teaching about marriage.
A federal judge Friday ordered Wyoming to allow same-sex marriage but delayed the effect of his decision to give the state a week to appeal. Such a challenge might not come, however, as Gov. Matt Mead said Thursday night that if the judge ruled in favor of couple's seeking to overturn the state's gay marriage ban that decision should stand.